Thursday, July 7, 2011

Court Orders Immediate End to DADT

Yes, Congress repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell last winter and the president signed it. But the law only takes effect when the Pentagon certifies that change would not interfere with military readiness, and that hasn’t happened yet.

On Wednesday, however, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco – which had previously allowed the government to follow its own timetable – reinstated a federal judge’s injunction that had briefly barred enforcement of the law last fall before it was suspended.

“The circumstances and balance of hardships have changed,” said the three-member panel, which consisted of Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, a Republican appointee, and Democratic appointees Kim Wardlaw and Richard Paez.

The court cited government reports that most troops should be ready for the new policy by midsummer. The judges also noted that Obama administration lawyers have not defended the constitutionality of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” but argued only that courts should defer to congressional judgment on military matters.

In addition, the panel said, President Obama has become increasingly critical of laws that discriminate against gays and lesbians. Obama withdrew legal support in February from a law denying federal benefits to married same-sex couples, and his lawyers now argue that all such laws should be declared unconstitutional unless they serve some vital government need.

Soldiers were still being discharged under DADT as recently as last month. Let us hope that this finally nailed the lid closed on this stupid law.