“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Still The Law

The government’s argument that it would be too damaging to immediately stop enforcing the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” law won the day Monday. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals accepted their argument and ruled the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” law is still enforceable while the government appeals a lower court’s finding that the law was unconstitutional.

This ruling could become moot as the House has already voted and passed a provision to repeal the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” law. The Senate will probably address the repeal provision when they return to session in the middle of November. Should they vote to repeal the law, these court’s holdings won’t be of any consequence.

As of Monday, however, the law is still in place. The Log Cabin Republicans were the original plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed to repeal the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” law. Following the 9th Circuit Court’s ruling, they have two procedural options. They can either appeal the decision to the 9th Circuit Appellate Court, or file for emergency relief from the United States Supreme Court.

The Circuit Court weighed the harm of continuing to enforce the law against the military’s current inability to implement an organized transition should the law become unenforceable. The Court found the harm to the military in its current form would be too great and that harm has a reasonable chance of actually occurring and that presents a harm to public interest.

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