Constitutional Law

US Files Appeal to 9th Circuit to Stay 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Ruling

Corrected: The Obama administration asked the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday to immediately suspend the ruling overturning the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military.

The Justice Department’s filing (PDF) asserts that immediately repealing the policy would create major problems for the military.

“Effectively developing proper training and guidance with respect to a change in policy will take time and effort,” the filing said. “The district court’s injunction does not permit sufficient time for such training to occur, especially for commanders and service members serving in active combat.”

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips of the Central District of California ruled in September that “don’t ask, don’t tell” violates the First Amendment and due process rights of service members and issued an injunction last week stopping the military from enforcing the policy. The DOJ asked Phillips for a stay two days later, which Phillips denied last night, prompting the DOJ to ask the 9th Circuit for an emergency stay this morning, Politico reported.

Last week, the Pentagon advised military recruiters that they could accept openly gay applicants, and that move was publicized on Tuesday.

President Barack Obama supports legislation to end “don’t ask, don’t tell,” USA Today reports. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a task force to study possible consequences of repealing the policy, and its results are expected Dec. 1.

Corrected Oct. 21 to clarify that the Pentagon advisement was issued Friday.

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