Obama administration asks Supreme Court not to block ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’
Obama administration asks Supreme Court not to block ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’
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[JURIST] The Obama administration filed a brief [text, PDF] Wednesday asking the US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] not to rescind the stay preventing suspension of the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) [10 USC § 654; JURIST news archive] policy. The filing is in response to a petition filed last week [text; JURIST report] by the Log Cabin Republicans [advocacy website] asking the court to overturn the indefinite extension [order, PDF; JURIST report] of a temporary stay [JURIST report] issued by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website]. The government asked the court not to interrupt the policy while it is being considered in lower courts. Additionally, the filing contends that the Log Cabin Republicans bear a heavy burden in asking to overturn the indefinite extension:

An applicant for vacatur of a stay pending appeal granted by a court of appeals ordinarily must demonstrate, first, a reasonable probability that the case will eventually come before this Court for plenary consideration; second, a significant possibility that a majority of the Court eventually will agree with the District Court’s decision; and, third, that the failure to vacate the stay probably will cause irreparable harm that outweighs the irreparable harm to the government from a vacatur of the stay.

The filing notes that President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates oppose the policy, but also stresses their support for the repeal of the policy through legislative measures, citing the need for deliberation, advance planning and training before transitioning from the 17-year-old policy.

Since the enactment of DADT in 1993, approximately 13,000 servicemen and women have been discharged from the armed forces as a result of the policy. On Sunday, Gates called on the 112th Congress to repeal DADT [JURIST report]. In October, Gates issued a memorandum limiting the authority to discharge openly gay service members [JURIST report] to five senior Department of Defense officials. In September, a federal judge for the US District for the Western District of Washington [official website] ordered [JURIST report] a US Air Force officer to be reinstated after being previously discharged under DADT. Also in September, the US Senate [official website] rejected a cloture motion [JURIST report] on a defense appropriations bill that would have repealed the policy. In May, the US House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) [official websites] voted to repeal the policy after Obama and Gates agreed to a compromise [JURIST reports] that would prevent the repeal from taking effect until the completion of a review to determine what effects the repeal would have on military effectiveness, soldier retention and family readiness.