National news outlets are reporting that President Obama has requested an emergency stay of Judge Virginia Phillips’ “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” order. The request was filed with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, and would immediately stop openly gay men and lesbians from applying to serve in the military.
The emergency motion comes after Judge Phillips yesterday denied a request by the Department of Justice to stay her October 12th order that banned further enforcement of the policy. Since yesterday, the Pentagon has begun to accept applications from openly gay and lesbian citizens. “Recruiters have been given guidance and they will process applications,” said spokeswoman Cynthia Smith, noting also that applicants would be informed of a possible reversal in the court’s decision.
Although the Obama administration has publicly stated that it is in favor of repealing the policy, the president has expressed the desire to do so through Congress rather than the courts. The emergency motion claims that “the district court’s order precludes the administration of an Act of Congress and risks causing significant immediate harm to the military and its efforts to be prepared to implement an orderly repeal of the statute.” This legal action was expected. But Obama adviser David Axelrod assures CNN that the policy will be terminated during the president's time in office. “This president has made a commitment, and it’s not a question of whether that program, whether that policy will change, but when,” he said.
The 9th Circuit is expected to make a decision regarding the emergency motion by tonight.