Judge to Military on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell': Halt!

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For all their dithering around "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" over the past two years, President Obama and Congress have been let off the hook. No need to finish off that survey to see how the troops feel about serving with the gays, because federal judge Virginia Phillips has halted all discharges under the policy, at once.

And, after 17 years, this may be the death knell in the life of that law — unless Obama decides to further squander the Justice Department's money defending it. (Though we can't imagine how they're going to start telling people to get back in the closet once they start serving openly.)

Attack on "activist" judges in three, two . . .

Details, background from the Washington Post here.

Philips doesn't mince words about it, either: She "ORDERS Defendants United States of America and the Secretary of Defense immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Act, or pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 654 or its implementing regulations, on or prior to the date of this Judgment."

Full text:

1) DECLARES that the act known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" infringes the fundamental rights of United States servicemembers and prospective servicemembers and violates (a) the substantive due process rights guaranteed under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and (b) the rights to freedom of speech and to petition the Government for redress of grievances guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

(2) PERMANENTLY ENJOINS Defendants United States of America and the Secretary of Defense, their agents, servants, officers, employees, and attorneys, and all persons acting in participation or concert with them or under their direction or command, from enforcing or applying the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Act and implementing regulations, against any person under their jurisdiction or command;

(3) ORDERS Defendants United States of America and the Secretary of Defense immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Act, or pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 654 or its implementing regulations, on or prior to the date of this Judgment.

(4) GRANTS Plaintiff Log Cabin Republicans' request to apply for attorneys' fees pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412; and

(5) GRANTS Plaintiff Log Cabin Republicans' request to file a motion for costs of suit, to the extent allowed by law.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

sthrasher@villagevoice.com


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