JURIST Sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh
Serious law. Primary sources. Global perspective.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Ninth Circuit vacates 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' ruling
Maureen Cosgrove at 11:23 AM ET

Photo source or description
[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Thursday unanimously vacated [opinion, PDF] a district court ruling that the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy (DADT) [10 USC § 654; JURIST backgrounder] was a violation of service members' constitutional rights. Earlier this month, lawyers for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) asked the appeals court to overturn that ruling [JURIST report]. The DOJ argued that the impendency of the repeal rendered the original court case moot [LAT report]. The Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) [advocacy website], the gay rights group that sued over the policy, urged the appeals court to uphold the ruling to prevent the government from banning gay military service in the future, noting that the new Congress may repeal the repeal [Bloomberg report]. The Ninth Circuit agreed with the DOJ, holding that the suit became moot when the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 [HR 2965 materials] took effect on September 20 [JURIST report], on the grounds that "the Supreme Court and our court have repeatedly held that a case is moot when the challenged statute is repealed, expires, or is amended to remove the challenged language." Circuit Judge Dairmuid O'Scannlain wrote a concurring opinion to say that the lower court failed to follow the Supreme Court's established law in Lawrence v. Texas [text] and created new rights for homosexuals by interpreting the decision too broadly.

In July, the Ninth Circuit ruled that DADT would remain partially in effect [JURIST report] during the 60 days prior to its scheduled repeal. The court effectively reiterated its order issued the previous week [JURIST report] in which it reinstated DADT but explicitly ordered the military to refrain from investigating, penalizing or discharging any of its members as originally provided for under the policy. Hours earlier, President Barack Obama [official website], Defense Secretary Leon Panetta [official profile] and the Joint Chiefs of Staff certified [JURIST report] DADT's repeal, scheduling the policy to end September 20. Obama signed the bill to repeal DADT [JURIST report] in December. The DADT Repeal Act was approved by the Senate in December after being passed [JURIST reports] by the House of Representatives the week before. Since the enactment of DADT in 1993, approximately 13,000 servicemen and women have been discharged from the armed forces as a result of the policy.

Link |  | print | subscribe | RSS feeds | latest newscast | Facebook page

For more legal news check the Paper Chase Archive...


 Federal appeals courts split on health care subsidies
1:03 PM ET, July 22

 HRW: FBI stings pushed people to terrorism
10:07 AM ET, July 22

 Obama signs order on LGBT job discrimination
9:07 AM ET, July 22

 click for more...

Get JURIST legal news delivered daily to your e-mail!


Unprecedented Notice of Warrantless Wiretapping in a Closed Case
Ramzi Kassem
CUNY School of Law


Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.


Paper Chase welcomes comments, tips and URLs from readers. E-mail us at JURIST@jurist.org