Obama DOJ On The Wrong Side Of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

"You don't need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight."

-1964 Republican presidential nominee & U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater

In what world would Republicans have a better gay rights record than that of a so-called progressive, Democratic presidential administration?

We are living in that world, 2010 America, and a GOP-allied group paid more than lip-service to the nation's gay community as the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama hemmed and hawed their way around an important GLBT issue.

Six years after first taking legal action to overturn the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy, the Log Cabin Republicans won a victory for gay Americans everywhere. United States District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips ruled that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is unconstitutional.

A federal judge in California on Thursday declared the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy unconstitutional, saying it violates both the First Amendment rights to free speech and the Fifth Amendment rights to due process in the U.S. constitution.

The opinion strikes down the 1993 law that bars from the military any servicemember who engages in "homosexual conduct," has a "propensity" to do so, or even just states that he or she is a “homosexual or bisexual.

Keen, Lisa (2010-9-9). Federal judge declares DADT unconstitutional. Dallas Voice. Retrieved on 2010-9-26.

Soon after Judge Phillips' ruling, objection was filed.

But the objection came from the unlikeliest of sources -- the Obama Department of Justice.

The Obama administration is objecting to a request for an immediate halt to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy after a federal court ruled that the policy barring gays from serving openly is unconstitutional.

"A court should not compel the Executive to implement an immediate cessation...particularly at a time when the military is engaged in combat operations and other demanding military activities around the globe," the government said in a court filing.

Rizzo, Jennifer (2010-9-23). Justice Department objects to court action on "don't ask, don't tell". CNN. Retrieved on 2010-9-26.

In response to the actions of the Obama Justice Department, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper said, "We are deeply disappointed with this Administration's decision."

"Yet again, the Obama Administration has failed to live up to its campaign promise to repeal this unconstitutional law for the servicemembers of this country."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, seeking political cover for the President, issued a statement September 23rd saying the DOJ's objection to Judge Phillips' ruling "in no way diminishes the President’s firm commitment to achieve a legislative repeal of DADT."

I disagree.

The end game here is not, as the White House puts it, a "legislative repeal of DADT." The goal is a complete repeal of DADT, regardless of how that repeal may come about.

The Log Cabin Republicans took action. The GOP-allied group filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." They won, and now Republicans have a better record on this particular GLBT issue because they got results.

Contrast that to the mealy-mouthed bowl of mush gay Americans are getting from President Obama.

The Obama Administration says they're committed to a "legislative repeal."

What the hell does that even mean?

Page 36 of the 2008 Democratic National Platform reads, "We support the repeal of 'Don’t Ask Don’t Tell' and the implementation of policies to allow qualified men and women to serve openly regardless of sexual orientation."

This is language that the 186-member 2008 Democratic National Convention Platform Committee voted on and approved. This is language that 4,419 Democratic National Convention delegates adopted on August 25, 2008 (Trust me on this one folks, I was there). This language doesn't say we support the "legislative repeal." This language says, "We support the repeal of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell.'" Period. End of question.

This objection by the Obama Department of Justice flies in the face of a Democratic platform that was approved by both Clinton delegates as well as Obama delegates. By filing an objection to this judicial ruling, the Obama Administration places itself squarely on the wrong side of this important GLBT issue.

And that's just the way it is.

Tags: Obama Administration, Department of Justice, DADT, GLBT Issues (all tags)



What is an Obama Department of Justice

There is no Federal Agency known as the Obama Department of Justice.   What the administration is objecting to, is the Judiciary's apparent requirement that the executive branch implement a policy change.


However, it does not block that policy change - the ruling last week was pretty clear: Don't Ask, Don't Tell is unconstitutional. The way I read the Obama Administration ( not Dept. of Justice, thanks ..) is that they are saying the DOD already supports repeal of the policy, and that the implementation of a full repeal is either up to them, or the legislature - but not the executive branch.

This really gets down , again, to the whole concept of whether or not we're going to tacitly accept the concept that the Bush Administration was trying to implement - in that we would have a dictator for our country - a president who has sweeping powers to declare war, implement social policy, and institute radical new powers of censorship  - spying on our own people, etc.

The Obama administration is writing their position based not on opposition to don't ask/don't tell - it's pretty clear they're opposed to the policy - they're filing their (and its just a position - it doesn't change anything, really)  written response to a federal court to throw the ball back in the court of the legislature.

So much was written in the past about Howard Dean's implementation of civil union, in Vermont - as a great victory for LGBT and their rights - but people forget that Dean actually threw the issue back to the legislature several times  - he wrote that letting the legislature deal with the issue was the right thing to do.

And it is.

There is no "Obama Department of Justice."  And while we're at it. There is also no " Obamacare" . Either.





by Trey Rentz 2010-09-26 04:53PM | 2 recs
RE: What is an Obama Department of Justice


Nice take on the issue, but this is the liberal blogosphere and MyDD has especailly turned into HateObama.com.

Everything you've written my be true, but the little old lefties in tennis shoes don't want to hear it.

Obama hasn't met their vision of a perfect leader:a lieral version of George W. Bush.

by spirowasright 2010-09-26 10:16PM | 0 recs
RE: What is an Obama Department of Justice

It's funny, you know. Jerome  - the moderator and designer of myDD, heavily supported Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primary.  And how much influence , I wonder - is represented by those factions of the Democratic party that are in line with heavy lobbyism.  The Clinton-DLC  was remarkable in its formation, as having had so high a concentration of lobbyists at the table - and it continues to be "pro business".  Lieberman, a close associate of that group - continues to be the kind of person who keeps turning over the applecart - as are the other 'conservative' democrats.


On this particular issue - it's about the status quo. It's a minority seeking to influence a majority by having their ideals supplant those of the clear majority  - the tactics of the bush republicans, are fair game  - as far as they are concerned. And they will deal with anyone. Case in point, the log cabins worked hard to kill off the dems in 08 and 04 but on this issue, the LGBT is singing their praises.

But Obama is pointing the way to a solution, not the Republicans.  He wants this to be taken up in a legislature that is controlled by progressive thought -


In my view, the LGBT ignores this message at their peril. Obama has signalled strongly and clearly that he will sign the legislation to overturn Dont Ask Dont Tell.  All that anyone has to do, to get Don't ask/Don't Tell - repeal - on the desk of the presidenty - is to work hard on the senate and get just one more senator on board.


Please. Think of it. One senator. That's it.  There are 59 who voted to bring a repeal act debate to the floor. That will be likely 59 who will vote for repeal.

But they were one shy, and could not get past cloture rules.

Bismarck spoke of 'Realpolitik'.  In its essence - you have to put the pressure where it does the most good. The whole Obama thing is a blow-off, let's just do a good set of midterms and then debate this thing in the fall.

P.S. IMHO Obama should throw an olive branch over to Howard Dean - b/c the guy has the POWER to get everyone up on their feet.


by Trey Rentz 2010-09-27 04:12PM | 0 recs
My Take On All of This

I wrote the first diary on this issue, and I happen to think that the issue is very important. My take on all of this, if you want to know - is totally different.

First, let's back up. The political game in America, in the 20th century - was to project our feelings about our father - onto our president. The GOP would back the president whatever he would do, and they went off normally in these christian conservative directions in their home. The actual demographic may have had the republicans at swinger clubs and getting divorced, but hey - that's not my problem. The main thing is, most people projected their feelings about their father onto the president.

This helped the cottage industry of so called 'political experts' take over the 24 hour media cycle - they would ridicule or comment on everything the president said.

The echoes of this type of thing worked to help fuck Obama in the head, when he came into office. But as we have seen with the appointment of Elizabeth Warren, and his distancing himself from Rahm Emmanuel - he's slowly coming to his senses. And let's face it, he's had alot to do in the last 18 months.  Jerome criticized Obama roundly for turning everything into a photo op.

But now things are different, and he's sending you a signal.

And that signal is this:  it's time to focus on the issues, and to get the legislature secured.  The issue was and is a political football - and if you care at all about it - (the way I read this) - then don't let the legislature go to the neo- and theo- cons out there.

And while we're at it, here's something I've been feeling that I want to share. The GOP, for better or worse - want you to make you feel bad about yourself.


I'm serious. That's really their game. The election of Obama in 2008 was a huge win for the progressives. The GOP is so fragmented, thanks to that landslide victory - they were thrown out of Washington on their fat white , corporate ass.

And so, being fragmented - they are doing what they've always done. If they can't win. They want to make sure you don't enjoy winning.

But to support Obama, is to support the flag of progressive political thought that is telling you - come past this November, with the house and senate securely in the hands of progressives, the repeal of Don't ask/ Don't Tell will be complete.

So. I think it's an appropriate move. It's political hardball. They're saying, we're the executive branch, we might make up the message but we're not dictators. IF you want the law changed. That is the office of the legislature.

And oh, by the way - you can bicker and complain about the executive all you want but if you let the control of the legislature go - you'll get what you deserve.

Of course, you might like that. But its not consensual.





by Trey Rentz 2010-09-26 05:10PM | 0 recs
RE: Obama DOJ On The Wrong Side Of Don't Ask, Don't Tell


Word to the wise: Ignore Trey's inanity. Apparently he's never seen or heard anyone tack the president's name in front of his executive departments. Or it could possibly be that Trey Rentz's ex cathedra pronouncement never trickled down to anyone who has ever employed a phrase such as "Jerry Ford's State Department," or the "Clinton DOJ." In case you're wondering if this is a standard convention in political writing, I can assure you your initial assumption is correct. 


Keep ya head up,



by Jack Landsman 2010-09-26 07:52PM | 0 recs
RE: Obama DOJ On The Wrong Side Of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Jack, it just sounds off. But this is your office , it seems.   So if you don't mind, I'll just put your name in front of it , and refer abbreviate this and refer to you as Jack Off.



by Trey Rentz 2010-09-27 04:15PM | 0 recs
RE: Obama DOJ On The Wrong Side Of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

"...refer abbreviate this and refer to you as Jack Off."

That is very good.

by Jack Landsman 2010-09-27 05:11PM | 0 recs
Log Cabin Republicans??!!

Are you fucking kidding me?? Where were they when Bush was demonizing gays in 2004, oh I remember Ken "I'm gay" Mehlman was running that demonizing campaign. So do me a favor, when you want to criticize the administration cite some credible source, not this sorry, self-loathing pathetic organization.

by tarheel74 2010-09-26 09:19PM | 0 recs
RE: Log Cabin Republicans??!!

Sorry and self-loathing they may be, but the Log Cabin Republicans have been instrumental in fighting for and winning one of Obama's campaign promises, for which he hasn't even bothered to put up much of a fight for (except as Kabuki theater.)

Apparently, we have to take our "fierce advocates" where we can find them, and God help the Democratic Party if they continue to distain their own voter base.


by judybrowni 2010-09-26 10:23PM | 0 recs
RE: Log Cabin Republicans??!!

Well, they won sort of by default because the DoJ didn't contest the case - no witnesses, no testimony, no defense other than "this is for congress". So this victory is the result both of a tiny few gay republicans and a democratic DoJ.

Because you know for sure it wouldn't have worked out that way during 2004-2008 (tarheels point).

by vecky 2010-09-27 03:12AM | 0 recs
RE: Log Cabin Republicans??!!

This also makes sense, vecky.

There's been a lot oc concern here about the GOp co-opting this issue since the Log Cabin Republicans were plaintiffs against DADT and Ted Olson was one of the attorneys who argued against Prop 8.

This may be the sign of something much more important. Namely, the collapse of an atomosphere where things like Prop 8, DOMA and DADT can flourish.

If the proponents of these policies are starting to lose conservative support, then they've lost the public.

by spirowasright 2010-09-27 03:28PM | 0 recs
RE: Log Cabin Republicans??!!

They may be losing support but it's not evident in Congress. 41 GOP senators and 197 congressmen - 100% of the caucus voted against repeal. So whoever GOProud and LCR are leaning on, it's not their own party.

by vecky 2010-09-27 03:45PM | 0 recs
RE: Log Cabin Republicans??!!

One step at a time.

by spirowasright 2010-09-29 12:48AM | 0 recs
RE: Log Cabin Republicans??!!

Back in 2004, the Log Cabin Republicans were filing this lawsuit to overturn DADT.

It took them six years, but they accomplished more DADT results in six years than the Obama Administration accomplished in the last two.

Because of the Log Cabin Republicans, we now have a legal precedent on the books.  DADT is unconstitutional.

Sometimes you have to take a win, regardless of how that win occurred or who was responsible for it.

by Andre Walker 2010-09-27 01:25AM | 0 recs
RE: Log Cabin Republicans??!!

"It took them six years, but they accomplished more DADT results in six years than the Obama Administration accomplished in the last two."

I'm not surprised, they had 3x the time. Lol.

I mean really, hearings in this case began in early 2010. What was going on in this case from 04 to 09? Was the GOP even pushing the issue? 

by vecky 2010-09-27 03:15AM | 0 recs
RE: Log Cabin Republicans??!!

Really?? Pray where are the  same people when the Republicans blocked the vote??? Why aren't the same people criticizing John McCain, or Lindsey Graham, or Jim Demint, or Olympia Snowe?? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

by tarheel74 2010-09-27 10:41AM | 0 recs
RE: Log Cabin Republicans??!!

Lesson 1 from the GOP - never criticize the same team, even if your on opposing sides. 

by vecky 2010-09-27 02:42PM | 0 recs
"The Obama Administration says they're committed to a "legislative repeal."

Don't think so! Obama administration is only commited on making their names smell good but the truth is it smells like fish!

by rhea 2010-09-27 10:49AM | 0 recs
RE: "The Obama Administration says they're committed to a "legislative repeal."

They've signalled, as an administration - that if the legislature passes a repeal, they'll sign it.

In this way, the US Military will have enough time to overturn a policy that's been in place for decades. There isn't really alot of work to be done in the US Armed Forces, to repeal this thing - this is, after all, the 21st century and most people don't give a rats arse one way or another.

I consider the concept that our eternal 'state of wartime' , and the idea that the president can override the legislature on such a sweeping policy change - are equally disingenuous.


by Trey Rentz 2010-09-27 04:18PM | 0 recs
Please remember, everyone

Everyone who is on this thread should remember this.

All the energy, all the wasted time - spent debating whether or not Obama would sign a repeal of DADT - is just that. Wasted time.


Obama is signalling that he's going to let the Military do their job, and that the legislature can get their act together and get the one - count it ONE  - senate vote additional, needed - to break the REPUBLICAN stranglehold on the measure and get it to the floor - and they can bloody well give him a bill to sign.  He will sign it.


So stop wasting time, and GOTV


by Trey Rentz 2010-09-27 04:29PM | 0 recs
RE: Please remember, everyone

no, no, no.  This is all Obama's fault.  I'm not sure how, but it is.

by the mollusk 2010-09-28 11:43AM | 0 recs
The job of the DOJ

is to uphold laws.  They aren't supposed to pick and choose.  That's what Bush's DOJ did and everyone got so (rightly) upset about.

by the mollusk 2010-09-28 11:42AM | 0 recs


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