Obama Administration Asks For Delay In DADT Injunction

Only days after a Federal Court Judge issued an injunction preventing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy from being enforced, Obama Administration has asked for a stay and announced that it will be appealing the case.

The Obama Administration has asked U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips to delay the implementation of her injunction against enforcement of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don”t Tell policy while the government prepares an appeal of her ruling:

WASHINGTON — After two days of silence, the Obama administration urged a federal judge on Thursday to let the military press on with its “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays serving openly in the military. Still, President Barack Obama insisted the policy that has divided the nation for two decades “will end on my watch.”

The Pentagon said the military “will of course obey the law” and halt enforcement while the case is still in question. But gay rights advocates cautioned gay service members to avoid revealing their sexuality in the meantime.

A federal judge abruptly threw out the Clinton-era ban on Tuesday, setting in motion a legal, political and human-rights back-and-forth that put the administration on the spot just two weeks before crucial midterm elections. Obama has consistently argued against the ban, approved by Congress in 1993. But he says it is up to Congress to repeal it.

The policy, summed up as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” refers to guidance that gay or lesbian Americans can serve in the military but not openly. Their superiors are forbidden to ask about sexual orientation, but service members can be thrown out or denied enlistment if they talk about being gay or let it be known that they engage in homosexual acts.

Obama’s Justice Department asked U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips to stay her ruling that overturned the ban while the government prepares a formal appeal. Asking the judge for a response by Monday – “given the urgency and gravity of the issues” – the government said that suddenly ending the ban would be disruptive and “irreparably harm the public interest in a strong and effective military.”

Obama, challenged Thursday at a town hall meeting by a Howard University faculty member who questioned his “alleged commitment to equality for all Americans, gay and straight,” said his stance has not wavered. He can’t end the ban with the stroke of a pen, he said, but “we’re going to end this policy.”

Of course, that’s something that the President has been saying since, well, since he was a candidate for President and yet his actions since taking office make it clear that repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is not among his legislative priorities, and he’s not willing to expend any serious political capital to get it done. If that weren’t the case, the Administration would’ve done everything it could to make sure that the repeal had become law long before the mid-term elections.

As with many others, the President’s gay and lesbian supporters are discovering that they’ve been thrown under the bus.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Gender Issues, Military Affairs, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Andy says:

    @Doug,

    I’m not sure it’s being thrown under the bus so much as the reality that you can’t do anything anymore without 60 votes and you can’t get to 60 without the political cover of that ridiculous DoD report confirming that yes, indeed, repealing DADT is possible. And even if Obama had timed the study to wrap up by summer, could he trust people like McCain to do the right thing when they’re being primaried from the right?

    Also I don’t think Obama realized just how exhausting the HCR fight would be. I’d love to know whether he’d honestly do it again, given the option, or take cap & trade plus immigration reform plus DADT repeal. The former option was better for the country (IMO) but the latter would probably have been better for the Democrats politically. So maybe the plan was always to force those issues when their success or failure (at the hands of the GOP) would be fresh in voters’ minds in 2012.

  2. Brummagem Joe says:

    “As with many others, the President’s gay and lesbian supporters are discovering that they’ve been thrown under the bus.”

    He’s not throwing anyone under a bus but just reflecting the realities of getting this passed now that you need 60 votes for anything. I don’t know why he’s going to appeal this since much the best course would have been to just let the ruling stand but I suppose there are forms to be observed. To me (although obviously not to the people invested in this) the whole subject is rather boring particularly since the change is ultimately inevitable.

  3. When the defense bill was up for a vote in the Senate, the Obama Administration did absolutely nothing to get Republicans on board. Instead, it let Harry Reid attach a controversial immigration bill to the bill and bar the Republicans from introducing any amendments during the debate process, thus guaranteeing that even moderate Republicans like Snowe, Collins, and Brown would side with their party.

    That bill could’ve been passed, if the Democrats wanted to pass it. Instead, they engaged in idiotic parliamentary tricks devised by a guy who may be one of the worst Majority Leaders we’ve seen in a long time.

  4. JKB says:

    What’s the deal, the Democrats have an overwhelming majority in both houses but now they can’t do anything without a super overwhelming majority? I’m thinking some party to be left unnamed needs to learn how to legislate, the art of the deal, the art of compromise. Or they can whine about not being able to do anything and practice the art of the tantrum.

    Oh well, spankings are set for a couple of weeks and in three months, we’ll get some of that change everyone is talking about and that gives the American people hope.

    As for the appeal, well, we have a president undermining all the work the troops are doing by setting a cut and run date, it wouldn’t do for him to lie down and let the courts dictated military readiness without a fight. Not to mention, the recent nannystate handwringing over whether the men and women in harms way should be afforded KFC and ice cream. Soldiers will follow orders but you can’t make them re-up.

  5. Brummagem Joe says:

    Doug Mataconis says:
    Friday, October 15, 2010 at 08:39
    “When the defense bill was up for a vote in the Senate, the Obama Administration did absolutely nothing to get Republicans on board. ”

    Of course Republican co-operation in legislations has been a bye-word during this congress.

  6. And who set the agenda in the Senate?

    If you want to place blame for what’s gone on in the Upper House the last two years, a good part of it belongs with the man who is supposedly in charge of the body.

  7. davod says:

    Is this the case where even the judge commented on the Justice Department not offering any contrary witnesses? Great defence of the law.

  8. An Interested Party says:

    “What’s the deal, the Democrats have an overwhelming majority in both houses but now they can’t do anything without a super overwhelming majority?”

    You have heard of that little thing called the filibuster, haven’t you? Not that the spineless majority party shouldn’t actually make the minority follow through with their filibuster threats, but still…

    “Oh well, spankings are set for a couple of weeks and in three months, we’ll get some of that change everyone is talking about and that gives the American people hope.”

    “As for the appeal, well, we have a president undermining all the work the troops are doing by setting a cut and run date…”

    Oh yes, as it is much better to occupy foreign countries in perpetuity…

    Oh really? How so, exactly, as I’m sure the Democrats, if they should become the minority party, will also learn the joys of the filibuster…

  9. […] She then calls two Democrats who refuse to take her call. There was no filibuster, Harry Reid never sent it to the floor. The gays returned to attacking the hell out of Republicans only even though the Democrats once again had all the votes they needed to pass the legislation to end it. All the while, no one was mentioning the fact that a lawsuit was working it’s way through the legal system to undo what Bill Clinton and the Democrats did in 1993. It wasn’t filed by Lady Gaga. It wasn’t filed by any Democrat. It was filed by the Log Cabin Republicans. And then a weird thing happened. They won. Republicans, who controlled nothing in DC, did what Harry Reid refused to do. They ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. The Obama administration thought about it for a couple of days. And, knowing how the gays felt about DADT, had this to offer: WASHINGTON — After two days of silence, the Obama administration urged a federal judge on Thursday… […]