U.S. District Judge Virginia A.
last week ruled “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” unconstitutional, is
no “activist” judge, colleagues say.
In her 86-page opinion, Phillips
declared the 1993 law, which prescribes discharge for gay and
lesbian service members who do not remain closeted or celibate, an
unconstitutional violation of the First and Fifth Amendment rights of
gay troops. She said the policy has a “direct and deleterious
effect” on the armed services.
The ruling, issued Thursday, was
quickly dismissed by gay rights opponents, who labeled Phillips an
“Once again, homosexual activists
have found a judicial activist that will aid in the advancement of
their agenda,” Tony Perkins, president of social conservative
Family Research Council, said in a statement.
But colleagues have painted a very
different picture of the Clinton-appointed judge.
to the New York Times, her mentor at the Best, Best &
Krieger law firm early in her career, Arthur Littleworth, said
Phillips is anything but an ideologue. “She is balanced,” he
Another former colleague who served
with the 53-year-old judge for 10 years called her “one of the
hardest-working judges I know.”
“No matter how early I came in, no
matter how late I stayed, her car would still be there,” Stephen G.
Larson, who returned to private practice last year, told the paper.
At a news conference on Friday,
President Barack Obama was not asked about the implications of the
ruling or whether his administration was planning an appeal.
In a Twitter post after the conference,
Kerry Eleveld, a White House correspondent for gay glossy The
Advocate, said the president has yet to take a question from the
LGBT press since being elected.