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Overturn of DADT Stayed Indefinitely by Federal Appeals Court

On Monday, a federal appeals court three judge panel ruled two to one that the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy will stand indefinitely until the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) appeals process concludes. CNN reports that the ruling, issued by the Ninth District Court of Appeals, granted the DOJ’s request that the court place a stay on US District Court Judge Virginia Phillips’ October 12 ruling, which declares the military’s policy unconstitutional and orders the military to immediately drop any pending investigations or proceedings related to the policy. The panel’s ruling may be now appealed to the 9th District Court or the Supreme Court by the Log Cabin Republicans, the group which originally filed suit against DADT. The DOJ is in the process of appealing Judge Phillips’ ruling because it alleges that the injunction would interfere with an ongoing Pentagon study of the potential effects of a DADT repeal. The DOJ instead encourages the courts to wait until the extensive Pentagon survey is presented to President Obama in December. Obama and other key officials such as Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen support a repeal of the policy. President Obama and Admiral Mullen, however, asserts that the policy should not be repealed through the judiciary. Despite these temporary legal setbacks, it is likely that a repeal of DADT will be passed after the Pentagon review is completed. In May, the Defense Spending Bill passed in the House and was filibustered in the Senate. The Bill contains an amendment by Representative Patrick Murphy (D-PA) that repeals “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” if military readiness, effectiveness, and unit cohesiveness are determined. DADT was instituted by former President Bill Clinton in 1993 and prohibits the military from inquiring about a service member’s sexual orientation, and also calls for the discharge of anyone who acknowledges being lesbian or gay. Thus far, the policy has led to the expulsion of more than 13,000 troops.

Sources:

CNN 11/2/10; Govtrack.us 11/2/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 10/18/10

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