Karen Ocamb

21 Senators Urge Obama's Justice Department Not to Appeal DADT Injunction

Filed By Karen Ocamb | October 14, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Appeals Court, DOJ, Don't Ask Don't Tell, gays in the military

We have heard repeatedly that the gays in the militarylegislative repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell would be handled after the election, in the lame duck session of Congress. However, polls show that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, despite the GOP distancing itself from his opponent, is in trouble in his Nevada re-election race with Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle.

Meanwhile, in an excellent piece of reporting, The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld says Obama and his top military aides want to wait until after the Pentagon's report is filed before any legislative action is taken:

"[It's] best to pay attention when [Defense Sec.] Gates told reporters a couple weeks ago that he and the president both held the opinion that "the best legislation would be legislation informed by the review" that's due out in early December. You can bet that Gates wasn't freelancing that answer and that it’s likely a truer reflection of White House intent on repeal.

Unfortunately, we have also learned from some recent reporting by the iconic Bob Woodward of The Washington Post that the relationship between the Pentagon and the White House is a classic tail-wagging-the-dog folly in many instances."

Bottom line, from my point of view, President Obama is just as afraid of or stymied by the military as President Clinton was - which got us into this mess in the first place. Which is why ordering the Justice Department not to appeal Judge Virginia Phillips' injunction against further enforcement of DADT might be the best way to go. Or they can just do nothing and let the order take effect. Meanwhile – Servicemembers Legal Defense Network urges all closeted gay servicemembers to stay in the closet until the policy is repealed or definitively overturned.

There are at least 21 senators - up for re-election - who have signed a letter urging Attorney General Eric Holder not to appeal Judge Phillips injunction. The Justice Department has 60 days to decide whether to appeal or not – which means Holder could wait until after the mid-term elections in 21 days. Either way – decide now or later - this is a moment when the two civil rights scholars Barack Obama and Eric Holder – are faced with acting on principle, what they profess to believe in – or giving in to the way things have always been, despite the promise of “change.”

Here is the senators’ just issued press release underscoring that position:

With Judge Ordering End to 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' Udall, Gillibrand, 19 Other Senators Urge White House not to Appeal

Senators: Appeal of Judge's Ruling, Injunction would Harm Military's and Government's Interests

Washington, D.C. - Today, after a federal judge in California ordered a halt to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law banning gays from serving openly in the military, U.S. Senators Mark Udall (D-CO) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) wrote a letter signed by 19 other Senators, urging U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder not to appeal the judge's original decision and to allow the injunction to stand.

Not appealing the decision would allow Congress to act to repeal the unconstitutional law, which harms our national security, the Senators argued in their letter. An appeal of the recent federal court decision - and of the injunction issued today - could set back those congressional efforts, they added.

Udall and Gillibrand originally sent the letter to Holder in September. They are now joined by Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Roland Burris (D-IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Al Franken (D-MN), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Ben Cardin (D-MD). The additional signatures are a testament to the support in the U.S. Senate for repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

"In light of important national security concerns, we respectfully request that you, in your capacity at the Department of Justice, refrain from appealing this decision or the permanent injunction granted against this law," the Senators wrote.

"President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, have all publicly advocated for the repeal of this harmful law," the Senators continued. "There is no legal or military justification and not one shred of credible evidence that supports continuing the discriminatory DADT law, and considering the guidance of the commander-in-chief and the nation's top two defense officials, we urge you to refrain from seeking an appeal. The federal court decision was a step in the right direction, and we are confident that the Senate will take the ultimate step by voting this fall on the fiscal year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act to permanently lift the ban on gays in the military. Although we understand that only action by Congress can bring real finality to this issue, we believe an appeal of the recent federal court decision could set back those congressional efforts. Therefore, we request your assistance in ensuring that we can eradicate this discriminatory law permanently and urge the Justice Department to choose not to appeal any court decision that would keep this law in place."

The full letter to Attorney General Holder follows:

Dear Mr. Attorney General,

We are writing to bring to your attention the recently issued decision of Judge Virginia A. Phillips of the United States District Court of the Central District of California in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, which declared that the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) underlying law violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of due process and free speech, thereby rendering DADT unconstitutional. In light of important national security concerns, we respectfully request that you, in your capacity at the Department of Justice, refrain from appealing this decision or the permanent injunction granted against this law.

The following quote from the judge's decision captures the overwhelming reason why the decision should stand: "Among those discharged were many with critically needed skills ... Far from furthering the military’s readiness, the discharge of these service men and women had a direct and deleterious effect on this governmental interest." As one of many criteria that the Justice Department will examine in deciding whether to appeal the permanent injunction to this policy, we ask that you examine whether or not an appeal furthers a legitimate governmental interest. We would say any appeal does not.

Additionally, DADT harms military readiness, as well as the morale and the cohesiveness of our armed forces, at a time when our military's resources are strained and unity is critically important. For every person discharged after ten years of service, six new servicemembers would need to be recruited to recover the level of experience lost by that discharge. This not only weakens our military, but neither is it an effective use of our government resources or taxpayer monies.

President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, have all publicly advocated for the repeal of this harmful law. There is no legal or military justification and not one shred of credible evidence that supports continuing the discriminatory DADT law, and considering the guidance of the commander-in-chief and the nation's top two defense officials, we urge you to refrain from seeking an appeal. The federal court decision was a step in the right direction, and we are confident that the Senate will take the ultimate step by voting this fall on the fiscal year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act to permanently lift the ban on gays in the military.

Although we understand that only action by Congress can bring real finality to this issue, we believe an appeal of the recent federal court decision could set back those congressional efforts. Therefore, we request your assistance in ensuring that we can eradicate this discriminatory law permanently and urge the Justice Department to choose not to appeal any court decision that would keep this law in place. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We look forward to hearing from you.


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Obama is appealing the ruling. I think he wants to wait until after November 2nd, but Gates has asked that it be done immediately.

ALL of these Democrats are in States that are very Democratic and most are not in elections. I would call that grandstanding.

Oh darn. It was all going so well. The thinly disguised feint tossing the ball past the midterms knowing repeal would be then impossible and would help secure rallying points for the 2012 election cycle. So smart. So eloquent and professorial. Now some silly judge has thrown it into disarray and Obama will be forced to either truly take a course of action that is change the people can believe in or expose the rhetoric as merely chump change. Meanwhile the military industrial complex is humming its favorite tune -- "gotcha".

Two days after that dramatic Miami protest of DADT, the White House announced they would be appealing the Injunction.

Bigger banners next time? More weather balloons? Better megaphones?

We applied faux "pressure" and the White House responded.

What's next?

Missiles?

Bombs?

Two days after that dramatic Miami protest of DADT, the White House announced they would be appealing the Injunction.

Bigger banners next time? More weather balloons? Better megaphones?

We applied faux "pressure" and the White House responded.

What's next?

Missiles?

Bombs?

No it's very simple send the Democrats a message that enough is enough. It's time to sit out or vote 3rd party. When Obama did not instruct his DOJ to not appeal he showed his true colors. And his people had the nerve to tweet that DADT will end on his watch. Does he think we are that stupid? I guess lemmings like Andrew believe it.

No, I don't believe we're all stupid.

GetEQUAL is. Very.

Please you have supported Obama and the Democrats on numerous blogs and it just shows they could care less about us.

Maybe you should talk to someone that actually reads my comments. They'll tell you that I have said too many times that "there is no political solution to LGBT equality."

Maybe you are confused because of my pointing out the damage GetEQUAL is doing by "embarrassing Democrats" with their stunts. Many of our friends are Democrats (certainly many more than the Republicans) and therefore when we piss on them they get mad at us and seek to avoid us.

Ask Dan Choi - it happened at that little Progressive March he went to. GetEQUAL has only made our friends angry - how is that helpful?

You've said the following, Andrew. Please locate one time among these where you did not say what I show you have said:

1. "The National mainstream media did not (cover the story)."

Yet the AP did cover it, CBS covered it, and there's still more coming
out even now.

2."The GetEQUAL strategy of embarrassing, harassing, irritating or
inconveniencing people into submission is juvenile."

This while your personal efforts against GetEqual consist of
embarrasing, harassing, irritating, and inconveniencing people into
submission.

3. "That's a lot of anger Antonia."
To a response that had no anger in it, was not written in anger, and
that you had no basis to make that statement on.

4. "You deny GetEQUAL is soliciting donations..."

Yet I never denied it -- I said, specifically, I didn't know if they
had, and that I hadn't been asked.

5. "I will remind you these are "professional" activists earning
substantial salaries and probably deserving of heightened public
scrutiny."

Yet only 4 people there were making any salaries according to that
level -- most of the people who did this make and earn nothing from
their advocacy. OUt of nearly 30 people by my rough count and more I'm
personally certain that I never saw.

6. You said "She (referring to me) was flown into Miami to play the
part of "activist."".

Yet I don't play the part of one, Andrew, I am one, and it is not
playing, it is a full time and then some job that I do not get paid for
and that I cannot afford to do.

7. You make comments around a Ms Diaz, whereas I'm talking about
someone entirely separate from her -- and he's a Black man.

8. "GetEQUAL fits nicely into the popular narrative that "we need to
get rid of these Democrats." In that sense GetEQUAL and the Tea Party
have the very same message and objective."

Which is true, except that what GetEqual is Doing is targeting those in
power. Your implication here is that GetEqual would not go after
Republicans who are in power, yet GetEqual has consistently gone after
John McCain, and he's absolutely a Republican, and he is quite
powerful.

This means that your statement is incorrect -- otherwise they wouldn't
have gone after McCain, who is a tea party darling.

9. This ill-conceived action was mostly ignored by the media and can
only be described as a waste of time, money and energy.

You said that, and yet the point of the article I wrote is that it was
not ill conceived, and I described it as something other that what you
did.

Therefore it cannot "only" be described that way -- that's merely how
you would describe it.

10. "What lies did I make?"

This, and even you finally had to admit that the AP did indeed pick the
story up (which is mainstream media coverage on a national level).

Instead of admitting it, though, you tried, and still try, to spin it.
WHich is, in and of itself, a form of deciet.

11.Your account was interesting and I'm glad that you were able to
contribute your time, but your suggestion that it changed "hearts and
minds" is silly.

You said this, despite the article containing a description of how,
personally, I changed the hearts and minds of a small groups of people
there unrelated to us.

12. But, all 300 were just driving by and who has time to think and
read signs at the same time.

THis you say despite the fact that I also noted most of the drivers
actually did read and think about the banners.

Many even stopped and asked, specifically -- again, noted int he
article.

13. All these carnivalesque publicity stunts do is help Republicans.

Yet in the article, I noted how it does much more than that --
specificallyhow it helps further the bonds of people who do work
outside of this, usually for little to no recognition.

Recognition your money and time could have gone to furhtering, and work
your money and time could have gone to support.

Instead, ANdrew, you chose to do this:

14. I have spent time and money convincing the media to ignore
GetEQUAL because they do not speak for the LGBT community.

You chose to spend money against the effort of people who's regular
lives are involved in face to face and day to day making a difference
in the lives of LGBT people, who's efforts involve education, support,
and the most basic of social services.

You chose to sepnd your money against the efforts of LGBT people,
instead of spending your money to help LGBT people.

15. I can't believe the Board is approving of this misinformation.

You say this, despite the fact that I am not a member of get Equal. I
am not on any provisional board. I am not beholden to them. hell, I
didn't even get to see Miami or take a trip to south beach.

And you think they have approaval over something I write, when not even
Bil has that, and he owns this site?

16. Grow up - tell us exactly how these attempts to "embarrass
Democrats" helps us.

THis you said despite my making it fairly clear that this wasn't about
embrassing anyone. It was about reminding them. It is about making
sure that they are aware of what they have promised.

You call that "embarassing" and then you speak about accountability.

Effectiveness? Go ask President Obama if he's aware that LGBT people
want DADT ended, want ENDA passed, want DOMA overturned, and are not
going to donate to the National funds until the national party makes it
a point to stop giving LGBT people lip service and second class status.

That's your answer. You don't ask the teacher if the lesson was
learned, Andrew, you ask the student. Simple logic.


17. Defend GetEQUAL instead of attacking me, I didn't waste $50,000 in
Miami on Monday.

This, despite the fact that I'm not defending Get Equal. I'm pointng
out the hypocrisy, deceit, and fear mongering that you are engaging in
under the cover of anonymity and hubris.

18. Plus, they are wasting money that could go to uses we know are
effective.

Just like you have. Yet you are allowed to keep doing so, while they
must stop?

That's hypocrisy, yet again.

19. WHAT did they achieve. I applaud your enthusiasm, but what did they
accomplish?

Asked of someone who was neither the student nor the teacher. Again, a
failure of directing the conversation to the right people.

And a form of deception, as well, because by asking them, you can use
the concept of implicature and the general non-commenting reader's
inherent classist and cultural biases to create a sense of unease.

Ask the President. Not his advisor, Not his cabinet. Ask him. He's
the student here.

20. Failure members of our community contributed to and were paid to
do so.

This you said despite the fact that none of the people on the ground,
as part of my team, were being paid to be there.

Getting a plane ride to do this is not payment. Getting a cheap hotel
room is not payment. Being given delivery Pizza and basic bagels and
chinese food is not payment.

That's all logistics.

Payment wouod have meant a donation to my house, or to Meg's Walk, or
actual money in my pocket I could put towards something I need, like
medical care.

Get real, please, Andrew. That's not payment.

So these aren't, for the majority of those involved, paid activists.

Which means you again use deciet.

21. It's called "accountability." Just because a few people think
something is effective, that doesn't make it so.

Just because you don't think it isn't effective, doesn't make it so.
And you can't learn if it was unless you 1 - give it time, and 2 - ask
the people who were being protested.

22. And you believe those people at a "political fundraiser" had no
idea about DADT?

Well, having been there and hearing the questions from the people
attending the fundraiser, I can say that, um, No, ANdrew, they did NOT
know about DADT.

They didn't even know about Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

At least not until they drove through the gates. Because they asked on
the way through, and were let know about it, and no, Andrew, not all of
them were aware of it.

Most of them thought it was already illegal to deny LGBT people
service in the military.

23. My comments about GetEQUAL are very clear - they are
counterproductive and they hurt the LGBT Community. The reality is
GetEQUAL hasn't done anything but help Republicans while making $90,000
salaries and traveling to Las Vegas, Chicago, New York, Washington D.C,
San Francisco and now Miami.

Yet if most of the people doing these things are people who do it for
free, how can they possibly be making a 90,000 a year salary?

Is Robin? I don't know. I don't doubt it. But Robin wasn't there at
the corner I was. ANd there were only 4 or 5 GetEqual folks out of the
whole bunch that were there -- most of whom I don't think make 90K.

You want to pay me 90k, I'm not going to complain, mind you -- hell,
I'd take a decent job for 35k in Phoenix right now. I've got medical
expenses to take care of. That I can't do because someone keeps
spending moeny to block LGBT issues from getting into the mainstream
news.

You wouldn't be one of those people, would you?

24.I didn't lie

You said that, again.

Yet you have. Multiple times. Collected here. Using your own words.

25.Because nobody can show the benefit of this publicity stunt ...

This is the final example of your lies.

You say "nobody can show". Yet all you do is talk to the people who
are on the teaching side.

And you forget, blunntly, that you cannot show it is ineffective.

And you forget that someone can show how effective they are. But they
aren't going to comment here, because they are in the White House.

*Nobody* can, Andrew? That's a lie. Claim hyperbole if you want, it
is still a lie. Someone can.

Barack Obama. President of the United States.

Ask him. He's the one who can answer that question, since he's the one
the message, in this case, was intended for.


Twenty five points, Andrew. Collated. You are a liar, a hypocrite, and
a fraud.

You are, in using your time and your money to work against LGBT
persons, defending the actions of those who also spend time and money
to do the same thing -- and they outspend us by ten to one already.

You step out and you say that people know you don't believe in any sort
of political solution to our equality -- yet apparently you do, since
you work to stop the efforts of people who are dong what you believe in
from engaging in a political solution.

If you didn' tthink it had a chance, you wouldn't put this much time,
this much energy and this much effort into discrediting them.

Your arguments are strawmen -- we are talking about commander in chief
roles and you ask about senate votes, which are two different things.

The point was to remind the president, and you call it "embarass" him.

You use standard derailing tactics that anyone can see just by reading
through the derailing for dummies site, including the tone argument (so
angry, Antonia -- stop insulting me, Antonia).

They don't work on me very well, do they, Andrew?

You might want to figure out why.

Before I do another list of 25 examples of your hypocrisy, deceit, and
fraudulent efforts.

You know, there are better ways at getting back at an old boyfriend
than this, sweetie.

The point was to remind the president, and you call it "embarass" him.

GetEQUAL was formed by Jonathan Lewis who said the intent was to "embarrass Democrats." Robin said the same. Plus, it's childish to think the President needs to be "reminded." GetEQUAL sits around wondering why we don't have DAT repealed and they conclude that Democrats "must have forgot about us."

The only ones happy about GetEQUAl's stunts are Republicans.

Enough Andrew. Stop threadjacking again. This post has nothing to do with GetEqual. It's about 21 Senators. If you want to argue about GetEqual with Toni some more, do it on her post.

I am so glad someone finally tells Andrew to face the facts and stop his work against our community. I have said for months he is not a positive force for the movement. Thank you Antonia for taking the time to spell it out! We all know the truth Andrew. But feel free to keep spouting the same tired lines.

Why would I imitate you Rann?

Antonia is part of GetEQUAL and it is natural for her to defend them even if it doesn't make any sense. I understand that. It happens all the time.

Yeah, they'll appeal. Don't we realize that the military isn't responsive to our democracy, er, I mean, that military isn't a democracy?

Tony Soprano | October 15, 2010 5:09 AM

"It's time to sit out or vote 3rd party" - Tim W.

Tim's right!

BTW, the Libertarian Party has in its platform stated that it supports marriage equality, among other pro-LBGTQQIAAP positions.

But, you all go votin' for those Dems, like Obama. Tell me how that works out for ya.

Oh, never mind ... I already know ...

Twenty-one is not a majority in any way I can count them. It is not a majority of Democrats or of the Senate. Again another poor showing on the part of the Democratic Party when it comes to LGBT Civil Rights.