Justice Department Requests Stay of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Injunction
The Department of Justice on Thursday requested that Judge Virginia Phillips' order that the Pentagon stop enforcing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," be put on hold. According to The Advocate, assistant U.S. attorney Paul G. Freeborne wrote “At a minimum, this case raises serious legal questions, and without the entry of an order immediately staying the application of this Court’s judgment, defendants will be irreparably harmed before they can appeal this Court’s decision to the Ninth Circuit.”
The Advocate reports if Judge Phillips denies the request, the Justice Department can file an emergency request to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. A Pentagon spokesman told CNN that in the meantime, senior military lawyers at the Department of Defense have directed military lawyers to stop any proceedings related to the law that bans gay and lesbian service members from serving openly.
Log Cabin Republicans, the plaintiffs in the case, say the move was expected. The group said in a statement: "If this stay is granted, justice will be delayed, but it will not be denied. Meanwhile, we urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to do what it takes in the lame duck session to end ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ legislatively."
Fellow plaintiff Alexander Nicholson said, "If they truly believe this is bad policy and it harms the military, I don't know why you would defend a policy that you truly believe harms national security."