Supreme Court: Don't Ask Don't Tell to Continue... For Now

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on November 15, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Supreme Court has turned down a request by the Log Cabin Republicans to suspend enforcement of "don't ask don't tell" while the fate of the law is being decided by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The group filed an emergency request with the Court hoping to overturn the ruling of the 9th Circuit allowing the military to continue to enforce the law while the merits are being heard by that court.

The Log Cabin Republicans won their suit before a U.S. District Court in California when Judge Virginia Phillips found the law to be unconstitutional, reports CNN. As discussed in a prior post, Judge Phillips ruled that the law infringed on the fundamental rights of gay men and women serving in the military. The judge went on to issue an injunction prohibiting the military from continuing to enforce don't ask don't tell.

The government appealed Judge Phillips' ruling and further asked the judge to stay (not to enforce) her ruling. Judge Phillips denied the stay, but it was granted by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. That is what lead the Log Cabin Republicans to seek a suspension of the enforcement of don't ask from the Supreme Court.

Any further decision either by the appeals court, or by the higher court, will become moot if Congress acts to appeal the law. President Obama has said repeatedly he wants to end the policy of refusing openly gay members of the military the ability to serve, but he hopes to do it with the legislative branch of the government, not through the judicial system. Thus, government attorneys are still defending a law their boss hopes to repeal. According to CNN, the Senate may consider don't ask as part of a broader defense authorization bill when it returns for a lame-duck session in mid-November.

If don't ask is not addressed at that time, the 9th Circuit is set to hear arguments on the case in February, 2011.

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