Obama Justice Department's Continued Defense of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Obfuscates Facts

February 25, 2011 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(Washington, DC) - Log Cabin Republicans issue the following statement in response to the Department of Justice's briefs to the Ninth Circuity Court of Appeals in regards to Log Cabin Republicans v. USA.

"Once again, President Obama has abdicated his responsibility in ending the failed and unconstitutional 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy," said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director. "The Department of Justice's continued defense of this case and its appellate tactics seek to obfuscate the issues and facts of this case. Log Cabin Republicans represents countless Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard servicemembers who are under the peril of a policy that seeks to advance discrimination over national security, which is why we went to court to argue this exact matter. This position is particularly difficult at a time when DOD commanders are ready to implement open service and open recruitment. When applying different standards between the government's position in regards to the Defense of Marriage Act and 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' what makes one indefensible and the other appropriate discrimination."

"The government's brief is stunning for what it does not say. As expected, it argues that Log Cabin Republicans lacked standing to bring the case and that Judge Phillips lacked authority to issue a world-wide injunction. Judge Phillips's 85-page decision from October 2010 covered these points in great detail, and we are confident that the government's arguments on these points will be rejected. The government's only other argument is that the recent repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell was constitutional but that was not an issue tried before Judge Phillips and was never part of the government's case before. The government's brief does not address the due process or first amendment issues on which Judge Phillips based her decision nor the standard of review applicable to our challenge to the constitutionality of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. By not arguing merits of the constitutionality of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the government's brief, by its silence on these issues, is effectively conceding that Don't Ask, Don't Tell was and is unconstitutional. While it may be implicit, it is the first time in the six-plus-year history of the case that the government has not argued that Don't Ask, Don't Tell is constitutional. This is a major change in the government's position."

Log Cabin Republicans have maintained a three-front strategy against 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' lobbying for repeal in Congress, consulting with the Department of Defense, and filing suit in federal court. The case went to trial in July of 2010, and Judge Virginia Phillips ruled on September 9, 2010 that the policy violated the First and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution.