Thursday, September 09, 2010

CA federal judge declares "don't ask don't tell" unconstitutional

A federal judge, Virginia A. Phillips, has declared the “don’t ask don’t tell” law unconstitutional, in the case “Log Cabin Republicans v. Gates". The link is here.

The opinion noted that the restrictions on free speech (the “forced outing” problem) are greater than necessary for legitimate government interest, and in the case of foreign language translators may be counterproductive. It also precludes servicemembers from openly joining organizations. It also found the First Amendment problems “content based” (oddly reminiscent of COPA).

The opinion also discussed application of the Witt Standard.

AOL News has a summary story (citing other stories), including the judge's plans to implement an injunction against enforcement, by Theunis Bates, here.

Update: September 13.

The Washington Times predictably has an editorial "Judicial assault on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Activist judge decides to reorder the military", p B2 in the Opinion Section of the $1.00 print version (yup, I bought one today at the 7/11), link here.  The editorial talks about Lawrence v. Texas (2003) but, it's the last sentence, (I think quoting it is "Fair Use" despite all the controversies recently as on my "BillBoushka" blog; and, no, I don't repost entire articles!), "Those who are on a personal quest for the autonomy of self would do well to seek it outside the brotherhood of arms,"  is the most important, to me at least.  I had several letters published on this back in the 1990s (at least two in this newspaper), and TWT is well aware of my interest in the "personal autonomy" arguments.  So my reaction to that sentence is this:  You don't go through life getting out of things through "autonomy".  We used to have a draft, with a moral quandary over student deferments (and earlier even fatherhood and marriage deferments).  We could have it again. There are legitimate gender issues in military service, to be sure.  But they also surface outside of the miitary, as do othe kinds of challenges to "autonomy of self."  Try eldercare.  Try war inflicted on civilians.  The day we just commemorated should remind us of that.

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