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Mullen Warns Inaction On Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Would Leave Repeal To The Courts

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"Mullen Warns Inaction On Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Would Leave Repeal To The Courts"

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Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen reiterated his “concern” over Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos’ widely publicized comments about the potential “risk” of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, telling ABC’s This Week that “what concerned me about his most recent comments, it came at a time where we actually had the draft report in hand, and we had all agreed that we would speak to this privately until we completed the report and made our recommendations up the chain.”

Mullen refused to characterize the Pentagon’s Working Group report — which has allegedly found that 70% of servicemembers would not oppose lifting the ban — until it is released and repeated his “personal” belief that the policy undermines the “integrity” of the “institution.” He stopped short of calling on the Senate to pass repeal in the lame duck session, but echoed Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ comments about the danger of leaving this policy to the courts:

AMANPOUR: And if it does not get voted on in the lame duck session, is there any chance that it will come up in any reasonable time period afterwards?

MULLEN: Well, it — I mean it’s very hard to predict what’s going to happen…from a legislative perspective. The other piece that is out there that is very real is the courts are very active on this, and my concern is that at some point in time the courts could change this law and in that not give us the right amount of time to implement it. I think it’s much better done if it’s going to get done, it’s much better done through legislature than it is out of the courts.

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Earlier this month, Gates urged the Senate to take-up repeal in the lame-duck session, saying, “The question is whether it is done by legislation that allows us to do it in a thoughtful and careful way, or whether it is struck down by the courts. Because recent court decisions are certainly pointing in that direction,” he explained.

Indeed, in October, a federal district court issued an injunction against the implementation of the policy. The Pentagon did not enforce the ban for eight days, until the Obama administration appealed the district court’s decision to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. That court issued a stay of the injunction.

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