DADT Repeal

Filed in National by on February 1, 2010

The New York Times covers the discussions about the DADT repeal in the Obama administration:

But it was in Oval Office strategy sessions to review court cases challenging the ban — ones that could reach the Supreme Court — that Mr. Obama faced the fact that if he did not change the policy, his administration would be forced to defend publicly the constitutionality of a law he had long opposed.

As a participant recounted one of the sessions, Mr. Obama told Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, that the law was “just wrong.” Mr. Obama told them, the participant said, that he had delayed acting on repeal because the military was stretched in two wars and he did not want another polarizing debate in 2009 to distract from his health care fight.

But in 2010, he told them, this would be a priority. He got no objections.

On Tuesday, in the first Congressional hearing on the issue in 17 years, Mr. Gates and Admiral Mullen will unveil the Pentagon’s initial plans for carrying out a repeal, which requires an act of Congress. Gay rights leaders say they expect Mr. Gates to announce in the interim that the Defense Department will not take action to discharge service members whose sexual orientation is revealed by third parties or jilted partners, one of the most onerous aspects of the law. Pentagon officials had no comment.

I think we would all prefer if all DADT discharges were halted, but this is a start. Service members will still have to stay in the closet in a way. There are also rumors that the Pentagon wants another study, which could take years. Hearings on DADT begin tomorrow.

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Comments (13)

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  1. Jason330 says:

    Executive order anyone? It was good enough for Truman.

  2. anon says:

    You can’t overturn a law with an executive order unless you are George W. Bush. Being Commander In Chief isn’t what it used to be.

    I think the Repubs are looking forward to a vote. Ultra-wingnuts will ride the DADT issue to victory in Congressional districts everywhere. And it will improve GOP turnout in Liberty County, Ohio.

    And if the repeal bill fails, not only will the GOP base be energized, the Dem base will be still more defeated.

    To be clear, I support DADT repeal, so the thing is for Obama to get out in front of the bill instead of leaving it for the Senate.

  3. xstryker says:

    “You can’t overturn a law with an executive order unless you are George W. Bush.”

    You can if the law is unconstitutional. Of course, if the SCOTUS rules otherwise, the exec. order becomes invalid.

  4. MJ says:

    I guess the rethuglicans will campaign against those GOP congressmen and senators that vote for repeal, anon?

  5. anon says:

    Maybe. More likely they will use it to drive fundraising and GOTV against Dems. Repubs have always included wedge social issues in their legislative agenda even when they were bullshit, like anti-gay marriage, flag burning, Pledge Of Allegience, etc. They knew the bills wouldn’t pass, but their game was to collect the roll call of those who voted against it and pass it to their fundraising outfits.

    They won’t be introducing any of that stuff themselves, but if we give it to them they will make the most of it.

    What the hell, let’s do it anyway, just because it’s the right thing to do. Maybe this time WE will take names and kick ass.

  6. cassandra_m says:

    Whether this gets done by Executive Order or via a law, the repubs will run against it, fundraise with it and do all of the demonizing they do on it.

    What WILL be fun this round is that both the SecDef and the Chair of the Joint Chiefs will right out front telling Congress that eliminating DADT is not an readiness issue. So there will be an opportunity to turn about that BS of listening to Commanders on the Ground.

    Leaving the elimination of this to an Executive Order makes DADT the new Mexico City Rules. Always dependent upon a friendly administration for its existence.

  7. anon says:

    I guess the devil would be in the details of any EO. It would probably have to be stated as a temporary moratorium, or stand-down pending some kind of review.

    I might have some “rule of law” issues with an EO. Our Democratic majority leaders wore their fingers to nubs writing sternly worded letters to Bush for ignoring Congress.

  8. a.price says:

    But arent people taking issue with Obama lack of dominance? I’m all for internal debate, and this could also be my own confusion about all the anons here, but you can in one week say Obama is failing because he cant control his party then express concern with a legal device that the president can use to circumvent the congress. If the dems are going to wuss out on this, and knows coach reid, they probably will, i say EO the hell out of it. Have the JCOS (am i the first on to use that?) say it is the vital national security interests of the nation to allow these Americans to serve, then DARE any rethug to argue.

  9. Jason330 says:

    I say flee in terror, lest the mighty Republicans run an attack ad.

  10. Bob White says:

    1) Given that DADT and even harsher policies regarding homosexuals in the military have been upheld, there is NO CHANCE that any Executive Order would be upheld by any federal appellate court (much less SCOTUS) if it tried to circumvent the statute.

    2) If such an executive order were issued, Barack Obama will have committed an impeachable offense.

    And I say that as someone who has argued that the ban should be overturned for the last 30 years.

  11. MJ says:

    So the rethugs are going to call a former Head of the JCoS a “fag lover?” Shaliskavili has come out in favor of repeal of DADT.

    Bob – how can an EO be an impeachable offense? You’re really stretching it. And before you flame me, I’m a gay vet who has worked for a long time to overturn DADT.

  12. Bob White says:

    How? Easy — by knowingly issuing an executive order to break federal law. Because in this particular case, he would not be issuing an order in which he instructs his executive branch subordinates to act in a manner consistent with one reading or another of the statute, but actively ordering those subordinates to act in a manner that is explicitly in violation of a duly enacted statute that has repeatedly been held to be constitutional.

  13. Bob White says:

    And to answer an earlier point of Jason’s, the reason this is different from what Truman did was that there was no statutory law mandating segregation in the armed forces, while there is statutory law regarding homosexuality and military service.