"Federal Judge Bars Enforcement Of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell"
Moments ago, Judge Virginia Phillip — the California federal judge who ruled that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell violated the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment and freedom of speech under the First Amendment — granted the Log Cabin Republican’s request for a broad injunction against further discharges:
(2) PERMANENTLY ENJOINS Defendants United States of America and the Secretary of Defense, their agents, servants, officers, employees, and attorneys, and all persons acting in participation or concert with them or under their direction or command, from enforcing or applying the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Act and implementing regulations, against any person under their jurisdiction or command;
(3) ORDERS Defendants United States of America and the Secretary of Defense immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Act, or pursuant to U.S.C. § 654 or its implementing regulations, on or prior to the date of this Judgment.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department filed an objection to the proposed injunction, insisting that the judge’s decision be limited to the plaintiffs in the suit. The government argued that a wide injunction would “foreclose the US from litigating the constitutionality” of DADT in other cases and frustrate the ongoing Pentagon review of the policy. The Justice Department will now have 60 days to make a decision on whether or not to appeal the case to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In an opinion that accompanied the injunction, Phillips explains that the plaintiff (the Log Cabin Republicans) “has established standing to bring and maintain this suit on behalf of its members. Additionally, Log Cabin Republicans has demonstrated the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Act, on its face, violates the constitutional rights of its members. Plaintiff is entitled to the relief sought in its First Amended Complaint: a judicial declaration to that effect and a permanent injunction barring further enforcement of the Act.”
“This order from Judge Phillips is another historic and courageous step in the right direction, a step that Congress has been noticeably slow in taking,” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and the sole named veteran plaintiff in the case along with the Log Cabin Republicans. “While this is certainly news to be celebrated, we would also advise caution in advance of a potential stay from the Ninth Circuit. If the appellate court wishes to put itself on the right side of history, however, it will allow this sound and long-over due decision to remain in effect.”
“The president will continue to work as hard as he can to change the law that he believes is fundamentally unfair,” Gibbs said, while reserving comment on the injunction.
“After finding in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” violates servicemembers First and Fifth Amendment rights, a world-wide injunction was the only reasonable solution,” he said in a statement. “These soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines sacrifice so much in defense of our nation and our Constitution. It is imperative that their constitutional freedoms be protected as well.”
We are writing to bring to your attention the recently issued decision of Judge Virginia A. Phillips of the United States District Court of the Central District of California in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, which declared that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) underlying law violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of due process and free speech, thereby rendering DADT unconstitutional. In light of important national security concerns, we respectfully request that you, in your capacity at the Department of Justice, refrain from appealing this decision or the permanent injunction granted against this law.