Judge Issues 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' Injunction

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on October 12, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips has issued an injunction prohibiting the enforcement of "don't ask, don't tell." The injunction orders the armed services to "immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced."

The order by Judge Phillips, a judge for the Central District of California, stems from a case brought by the Log Cabin Republicans challenging don't ask, don't tell, reports CNN. Judge Phillips ruled that the practice causes irreparable injury to the Fifth Amendment rights to due process and First Amendment rights free of speech of military service members.

The Department of Justice, who defended the law for the Obama Administration, has 60 days to appeal the judge's order, but is not required to do so. CNN reports that DOJ spokesperson Tracy Shmaler would only say the department is "reviewing the ruling." The Department may well decline to appeal since the Obama Administration is still hopeful of a repeal of the law. A military appropriations bill up for a vote in September carried an amendment to repeal the law, but was blocked by a Republican filibuster in the Senate.

The Department of Defense report on its review of the law is due at the end of the year.

The Log Cabin Republicans are applauding the injunction, but caution service members not to take hasty action. In a statement reported by CNN, the group advised "caution by service members considering coming out at this time, as the Obama administration still has the option to appeal."

An appeal by the government would send the case next to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. An appeal from any ruling from the entire appeals court would go next to the Supreme Court.

More than 12,500 people have been discharged from military service since don't ask don't tell went into effect.

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