Obama favors repealing “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” So does Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. They are of the opinion that coming out of the closet should not be cause for discharge from the military, nor should it be a bar to enlisting, so long as homosexuals in the military are following all the orders and rules given to them that everyone else must follow.
So it should be a welcome gift that a federal judge in California ruled that the Pentagon must strike down the the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, right?
But the Obama Administration is mulling an appeal over the ruling, which might baffle many in the LGBT community, and it may baffle many others who are center-left on social issues, particularly the issues that confront the LGBT community.
But Obama absolutely ought to appeal, even though doing so would be seemingly contradictory in light of his wish to abolish “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
The reason is this simple: Separation of powers between the branches of government. This federal judge, while feeling that “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” isn’t constitutional, is making a ruling that is not constitutional.
The President of the United States is Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s military. The Congress has war powers. The judicial branch of the federal government is absolutely nowhere in the chain of command. In fact, the military has its own separate courts.
If this federal judge is permitted to run afoul of the Constitution and issue orders to the military, what kind of anarchy might ensue? Potentially, every federal judge in the nation could be issuing orders to the military.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” preserving our Union and our Constitution requires an appeal based on the constitutional separation of powers.
We cannot have a military that has every federal judge as its boss. There must be a unitary chain of command. All military authority flows through just one channel.
Congress has the power to repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” Secretary Gates and the personnel at the Pentagon are gathering information together for a report to Congress and are preparing to give testimony in Congressional hearings on the policy. Secretary Gates confirmed that the change in policy must be pursued through the channel of authority delineated in the Constitution.
Let’s not throw the Constitution into the trash bin. Allowing all federal judges to give orders to the military would do just that. To prevent our Constitution from being shredded, the decision cannot be allowed to stand, thus the Obama Administration should absolutely file an appeal.