Last night, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily granted the government’s request to stay a federal district court’s injunction of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, potentially allowing the Pentagon to again ban gays and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces. LGBT advocates and a growing number of Democrats had urged the White House not to appeal the ruling and this morning, Ted Olson — former Solicitor General under President George W. Bush — agreed with this emerging consensus:
“It happens every once in awhile at the federal level when the solicitor general, on behalf of the U.S., will confess error or decline to defend a law,” said former George W. Bush administration solicitor general Ted Olson, who is leading the legal challenge of California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state attorney general have both declined to defend the law in court.
“I don’t know what is going through the [Obama] administration’s thought process on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,'” Olson said. “It would be appropriate for them to say ‘the law has been deemed unconstitutional, we are not going to seek further review of that.'”
But this morning, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett dismissed this sentiment, suggesting that those who oppose appealing the court’s injunction don’t “actually understand” the process. “You know what, the Justice Department is required to defend the law of the land,” she said. “And I think there are many members of the gay community who actually understand this and who are working with us to try to put pressure on Congress to repeal it.”