Federal Judge Bars Enforcement of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell“

Earlier today, Judge Virginia Phillip — the California federal judge who ruled that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell violated the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment and freedom of speech under the First Amendment — granted the Log Cabin Republican’s request for a broad injunction against further discharges:

(2) PERMANENTLY ENJOINS Defendants United States of America and the Secretary of Defense, their agents, servants, officers, employees, and attorneys, and all persons acting in participation or concert with them or under their direction or command, from enforcing or applying the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Act and implementing regulations, against any person under their jurisdiction or command;

(3) ORDERS Defendants United States of America and the Secretary of Defense immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Act, or pursuant to U.S.C. § 654 or its implementing regulations, on or prior to the date of this Judgment.

Earlier this month, the Justice Department filed an objection to the proposed injunction, insisting that the judge’s decision be limited to the plaintiffs in the suit. The government argued that a wide injunction would “foreclose the US from litigating the constitutionality” of DADT in other cases and frustrate the ongoing Pentagon review of the policy. The Justice Department will now have 60 days to make a decision on whether or not to appeal the case to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In an opinion that accompanied the injunction, Phillips explains that the plaintiff (the Log Cabin Republicans) “has established standing to bring and maintain this suit on behalf of its members. Additionally, Log Cabin Republicans has demonstrated the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Act, on its face, violates the constitutional rights of its members. Plaintiff is entitled to the relief sought in its First Amended Complaint: a judicial declaration to that effect and a permanent injunction barring further enforcement of the Act.”