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Appeals Court Panel Hears Arguments in DADT Case

Appeals Court Panel Hears Arguments in DADT Case


With "don't ask, don't tell" scheduled for official repeal in less than three weeks, government attorneys asked a federal appeals court Thursday to throw out a landmark ruling against the policy won by the Log Cabin Republicans.

But in oral arguments before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena, Calif., Log Cabin Republicans attorney Dan Woods said that the court should uphold U.S. district judge Virginia Phillips's 2010 decision striking down DADT as unconstitutional, in part, he argued, to protect those who will be serving openly in the nation's armed forces.

"Our point here is that if this case does not go forward on the merits and you don't affirm it on the merits, the government will be completely unrestrained in its ability to again ban gay service in the military," Woods argued, the Associated Press reports. "We have multiple presidential candidates promising as part of their campaign platforms to repeal the repeal."

One of those candidates is Rep. Michele Bachmann, who in responding to a question from CNN's Candy Crowley last month, asserted, "The 'don't ask, don't tell' policy has worked very well" and said she would reinstate it if she were commander in chief.

Vacating the ruling in the Log Cabin case, Woods argued, would also undermine efforts by service members thrown out under the policy to pursue reinstatement or damages such as back pay. "In other words, our case should remain as a precedent because service members discharged under DADT continue to suffer collateral consequences from their discharges even after repeal becomes effective," Woods said in a statement earlier this week.

A Justice Department attorney arguing to invalidate Phillips's decision after repeal on September 20 said that other suits involving reinstatement and back pay issues have been filed and are the appropriate venues to address further DADT-related claims.

"Once 'don't ask, don't tell' has been ended in 19 days, that is the end of this case, and there's nothing for this court to do," DOJ attorney Henry Whitaker argued Thursday.

Read the AP report here.

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