Obama Faces Dilemma on Whether to Appeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Injunction

Wednesday, 13 Oct 2010 09:43 AM

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President Barack Obama very well might want to respond “don’t ask” when facing queries about a federal judge’s smackdown of the political powder keg of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban of openly gay people in the military, especially with a critical Election Day less than three weeks away. But Los Angeles Times’ Top of the Ticket blogger Andrew Malcolm will tell him no lies: Mr. President, you’ve got a problem.

Obama, dont ask, dont tell, gays, military, judgeIn fact, Malcolm characterized U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips’ landmark ruling Tuesday as “a major political predicament for Democratic President Barack Obama just 20 days before crucial midterm elections that already augured ill for his party.”

Phillips issued a worldwide injunction halting enforcement of "don't ask, don't tell,” ending the 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops.

Obama, dont ask, dont tell, gays, militaryThe policy, which tolerates gays in the military as long as they are mum about their sexual orientation, has prompted the discharge of about 13,000 troops since it took effect in 1993.

It has been a contentious practice, one that liberal politicians, including Obama, have vowed to end but have not succeeded in doing so. Although a repeal effort is under way in the Democratic Congress and passed the House this year, it was snagged in the Senate.

Judge Phillips’ ruling said the policy "infringes on the fundamental rights of United States service members and prospective service members.''

Generally, the Justice Department would appeal the injunction, but doing so would upset Obama’s Democratic base and could affect some elections, Malcolm writes, but an official said an appeal decision hasn’t been made. On the other hand, Obama has 60 days to appeal, which would carry him beyond the midterms and liberal wrath.

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