DOJ will appeal decision in Major Margaret Witt’s DADT case

Remember yesterday how Assistant Attorney General Tony West told reporters how hard it was for the Obama administration to defend DADT and DOMA in the courts? Yeah, right.

On September 24, 2010
, Federal District Court Judge Ronald Leighton ruled that Major Margaret Witt’s discharge under DADT was unconstitutional. Leighton “started breaking up and was in tears” as he announced that Witt won her case against DADT and must be reinstated into the military. At the time, I wrote:

Now, we have to wait to see if the Department of Justice will appeal this case, too.

Well, guess what? Today, DOJ took the first step to appeal the decision that reinstated Major Margaret Will. Igor Volsky has the details:

Moments ago, the Justice Department appealed a federal district court ruling reinstating Air Force Major Margaret Witt after she was discharged from the military under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. But the government did not ask the court to stay the decision — suggesting that Witt will be able to serve in the Air Force through the duration of the appeal process.

How magnanimous of DOJ to allow her to serve.

No wonder we’re disappointed and disillusioned. (And, we are.) This appeal, aimed at Major Witt, seems particularly shameful.

UPDATE: This lame-ass statement from Robert Gibbs doesn’t help:

“Today, the Department of Justice filed a notice of appeal in a case involving a legal challenge to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy, as the Department traditionally does when acts of Congress have been held unconstitutional. This filing in no way diminishes the President’s — and his Administration’s — firm commitment to achieving a legislative repeal of DADT this year. Indeed, it clearly shows why Congress must act to end this misguided policy. In recent weeks, the President and other Administration officials have been working with the Senate to move forward with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, including a repeal of DADT, during the lame duck.”

First, let’s be clear: despite the constant assertions to the contrary, DOJ did not have to file this appeal.

The filing further diminishes the President’s credibility with the LGBT community. He really better get that Defense bill with the DADT language passed during the lame duck. He promised. Repeatedly.

Witt Notice of Appeal


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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