Late Wednesday a Federal appeals panel placed a temporary block on the ruling by a lower court that stopped enforcement of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy currently enforced by the military.
The three judge panel in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals placed a temporary stay on the lower court’s ruling to give the court time to look at the issues that have been presented. In the meantime the government has achieved the delay it hoped for when it filed the motion.
All parties have been given an October 25 deadline to file any further documents.
Aubrey Sarvis, army veteran and executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, informed others that this meant the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was back on the books and would likely be enforced. The ACLU and the Human Rights Campaign have both shown disappointment in the late day ruling as well.
The Obama administration filed a motion Tuesday asking U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips to stay her order from last month banning the enforcement of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. When she denied the motion the administration filed Wednesday with the 9th Circuit Court to stop the military from allowing openly gay members serve.
The administration argued in court that the policy should remain intact for now and changing it too quickly could pose risk to the military. The administration is hoping the issue will be resolved politically in Congress and not through the court system.
A measure to repeal the policy once a military review had taken place and the President, Defense Secretary and Joint Chiefs chairman had signed off is currently in the Senate waiting for action after having passed the House.
The administration admitted it was trying to buy some time in order to implement the repeal process it had worked out with the military leaders. Obama has stressed the need for an orderly transition so that issues such as benefits and barracks arrangements could be dealt with.
However if the 9th Circuit Court overturns the lower court’s ruling and Congress fails to act the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy would be back in effect.
Dan Woods, lawyer for White and Case who are representing the plaintiffs, says they see the stay as a disappointment and a minor setback. However he said they felt they had gone too far to stop at this point.