Monday, September 13, 2010

LCR Lawyer: DADT Ruling "Would Apply Nationwide"

After federal Judge Virginia Phillips' ruled last Thursday that "don't ask, don't tell" is unconstitutional, the attorney who scored a major victory on behalf of Log Cabin Republicans and lesbian and gay servicemembers, Dan Woods, came on the show. A clip of a portion of the interview is below.

His comments and observations are very important and under why the Obama administration must not appeal the case if the president truly believes the ban should end. And we should not accept the Department of Justice appealing the case. There simply is no reason to do so. This ruling would effectively end the ban across the country if it is allowed to stand. The judge ruled DADT unconstitutional and granted a request for an injunction to halt the discharges nationwide. Woods has until the end of the week to draw up the language of the injunction, and then the administration has seven days to respond. But, as Woods describes it, the only Department of Justice response that will change anything regarding her ruling would be an appeal. The judge is set to halt the discharges unless she is stopped by an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals:

Dan Woods: The federal judge in any federal court has the power to declare an act of Congress unconstitutional, and that's what she's done. An unconstitutional law cannot be applied anywhere. It doesn't apply just in California or just within the boundaries of the 9th circuit. It would apply nationwide. That's part of the checks and balances of our governmental system...Our case has uniform federal law throughout.

Signorile: So if the Obama administration does not appeal this, that's it, the "don't ask, don't tell" law is dead?

Woods: Yes, assuming she signs an injunction that has the nationwide scope, as we are suggesting it should, that would be the case, yes.