NYT asks how DOJ can still argue ‘with a straight face’ that Congress will end DADT

Like many of us, the NY Times Editorial Board seems skeptical that Congress will end DADT this year (despite repeated promises by the President and Congressional leaders.) Today’s editorial castigates the arguments made by the Obama administration in its recent filing with the U.S. Supreme Court. The Times wonders why DOJ keeps arguing that Congress will end DADT — when that possibility seems more remote by the day:

The Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to allow the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy to remain in effect is a victory for theory over reality and a defeat for America’s system of checks and balances.

It also underscores the bravery and competence of Virginia Phillips, the federal judge who mustered logic and persuasive evidence in September when she struck down the statute enacting the policy. She did the same in October when she issued a ban on its enforcement.

The Supreme Court’s order included no explanation, so it’s sensible to look for that in the Justice Department filing that urged the court to rule as it did. Repeatedly, it mentioned repeal of the law by Congress and the process under way in the executive branch laying the groundwork for that. It said the wrong way to overturn the law is by “judicial invalidation” and the right way is by “repeal of an act of Congress by Congress itself.”

Sometimes the courts have to act when Congress lacks the sense or the courage to do so. The Senate could have joined the House in repealing the antigay law in September. It did not. Given the sharp rightward turn of Congress in the elections, how can the Justice Department now make that argument with a straight face?

Good question.

The President and the Senate are both lacking sense and courage on DADT. We keep waiting for signs of a strategy or a plan from someone. Nothing. Time is running out.


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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