Monday, November 8, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Don't Be Lame

President Obama's best chance to end DADT was after a federal judge issued a world-wide injunction last month, finding that the ban on gay and lesbian troops serving openly in the military violated the First and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution.  Instead, his Justice Department appealed the ruling and requested that DADT remain in place pending the outcome of the litigation.  It is highly debatable whether the DOJ was obligated to defend the constitutionality of the law as the Administration insisted.  As law professor Jonathan Turley argued:  “The president has a duty to separate his administration from an unconstitutional statute. If a statute required racial discrimination, would the president seriously be arguing that he and his administration would have to defend the statute all the way to the Supreme Court?”  Obama maintained that it was up to Congress, not the courts to repeal the law.  And how is that going?  The Wall Street Journal has reported that the proposed repeal of DADT would be stripped from the defense bill, "leaving the repeal with no legislative vehicle to carry it" during the lame duck session.  Apparently, with the repeal as part of the bill there would be insufficient votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster.  Adam Serwer contrasts Harry Truman's insistence on ending racial segregation of the military in the 1940s despite widespread opposition of most service members.  Now, most military personnel, like most Americans, are not opposed to gays and lesbians serving openly. "Truman ended segregation in the military because it was the right thing to do, despite the fact that it was unpopular. Ending DADT happens to be both popular and the right thing to do, and Democrats today still can't get it done."


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