Just who is steering this ship of state?
Yesterday, the Department of Justice filed a supplemental response in the Log Cabin’s lawsuit against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The Dept. of Justice’s initial response, which we broke here, created a firestorm.
With this new filing, the geniuses at Justice made a bad situation worse. The Log Cabin lawyers asked the DOJ if President Obama’s statements opposing DADT were accurate. DOJ said they weren’t. From the Log Cabin press release:
On June 29, 2009, during his speech in front of an audience attending the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Pride Month Reception, held at the White House, President Obama said:
“As I said before–I’ll say it again–I believe ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ doesn’t contribute to our national security. In fact, I believe preventing patriotic Americans from serving their country weakens our national security.”
In the lawsuit, Justice Department attorneys admitted that the President made this statement. So, using President Obama’s exact words, Log Cabin’s lawyers then asked the government to admit that what the President said about DADT was true. Justice Department lawyers objected, and refused to answer — Log Cabin filed and won a motion to compel the government to answer the questions, the government appealed, and the court rejected the appeal.
Consequently, on Monday, April 12, 2010, the government finally had to answer the questions and, when the Justice Department lawyers answered, they told the court that the President of the United States, Barack Obama, was wrong about DADT.
Specifically, when asked to admit that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell “does not contribute to our national security”, the government’s response was “Deny.” Meaning, DOJ disagrees with the President — DOJ thinks the gay ban does contribute to our national security. So they’re not only contradicting the President, they’re not only saying that the President is wrong, they’re actually putting out an anti-gay argument that hurts our efforts to repeal DADT because it defends the underlying basis for the law.
When asked to admit that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell “weakens our national security”, the government’s response was again “Deny”. And, when asked to admit that discharging service members pursuant to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell “weakens our national security,” the government’s response was “Deny”.
The government’s responses attempt to explain why these denials differ from what the President had said but they candidly admit that the government’s position in this case differs from the President’s view of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
I posted the DOJ response brief at Scribd.com. Here’s the key passage:
Last week, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs took a swipe at DOJ’s initial brief in this DADT case. I wonder how he feels about Obama’s arguments about repealing DADT being rejected by DOJ.
This does beg the question again of what is going on at DOJ when it comes to gay issues. The Department seems to go out of its way to work against our interests, and now work against their boss, the President of the United States. And, again, where’s our DOJ LGBT liaison Matt Nosanchuk? Does he know about this? Where’s Brian Bond? Where is Jim Messina?
DOJ noted in this brief, that is has been placed in an “untenable position.” Oh really? Who is putting a gun to DOJ’s head and making them publicly disagree with their boss, the President of the United States? As we already showed, DOJ doesn’t have to defend DADT, or DOMA, in court. All the President has to do is believe that DADT or DOMA are unconstitutional, and fight them in court. Interestingly, the President has no problem outright ignoring laws he doesn’t agree with, when the laws aren’t anti-gay. We aren’t asking him to ignore the law, we’re simply asking him to oppose it in court. And he won’t. So DOJ isn’t in any untenable position. They’re doing the President’s bidding. They’re defending anti-gay laws and undercutting our civil rights movement for political convenience. Let’s stop calling it anything else.
There is a solution: Repeal DADT. In the State of the Union, the President promised to do it “this year.” But, his staff isn’t following through on the President’s promise. In fact, we’re even hearing that the White House legislative team is telling people on the Hill that they don’t want to have a vote on repeal language this year.
The Obama administration has created its own mess here. Let’s see if Jim Messina, who oversees DADT policy, is going to fix it or let it fester. If it festers past this year, it’s going to be a campaign issue for Obama — a problematic campaign issue. And, rumor is that Messina’s going to be managing the campaign.