The Obama administration wants a
federal appeals court to dismiss a case which declared “Don't Ask,
Don't Tell” unconstitutional, gay
The legal challenge to the policy was
filed by gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans.
Last September, U.S. District Judge
Virginia A. Phillips ruled that the law which bans gay and bisexual
troops from serving openly is unconstitutional. The government
appealed the ruling and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals in San Francisco put the ruling on hold as it considers the
In December, Congress approved and
President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that repeals “Don't
Ask, Don't Tell” and the policy is set to expire on September 20.
On Thursday, lawyers for the Department
of Justice urged the three-judge panel to vacate Phillips' ruling.
“And that's exactly what should
happen when a case becomes moot on appeal,” Lawyer Henry Whitaker
Lawyers for the plaintiffs argued
against the motion, saying a vacated ruling would allow the
government to reintroduce the policy at a later date.
“If this case does not go forward on
the merits and if you do not affirm it on the merits, the government
will be completely unconstrained in its ability to again ban gay
service in the military,” said Dan Woods, an attorney for Log Cabin
The DOJ also reiterated its argument
that DADT, as of Thursday, is constitutional. “We have continued
to defend the constitutionality of the statute. And, again, it is
very well established that the court applies the law as it now exits.
And we have defended the constitutionality of the statute, as it is
today. Whatever the current law is, your honors, we have defended
it,” Whitaker said.