Justice Department appeals “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ruling

No one was sure if the Obama-led government would appeal Tuesday’s ruling by California Judge Virginia Phillips to halt enforcement of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” especially since the prez and his supporters are on the record as opposing the policy. Turns out, they’re not letting it slide. Today the The Department of Justice requested a stay on the ruling and the government filed an appeal in federal court.

From The Advocate:

Should Phillips deny the Justice Department’s request for a stay of her order, government attorneys will file an emergency request to the U.S. court of appeals for the ninth circuit.

“At a minimum, this case raises serious legal questions, and without the entry of an order immediately staying the application of this Court’s judgment, defendants will be irreparably harmed before they can appeal this Court’s decision to the Ninth Circuit,” assistant U.S. attorney Paul G. Freeborne wrote.

Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said in a statement that while the Obama administration supports repeal of DADT, “The Justice Department is defending the statute, as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged.”

Richard Socarides, a New York lawyer and former LGBT adviser to President Bill Clinton, said getting the stay on the suspension of discharges was not guaranteed and that if the court of appeals failed to grant it, the Justice Department would have to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. In order to get the stay, Socarides said the government would have to prove it would suffer serious, irreversible damage if it were denied.

It’s a sticky situation that is sure to continue throughout the next several months. Welcome back to the seesaw children.

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