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Obama Administration does not appeal federal ruling… in favor of Alliance Defense Fund

Timothy Kincaid

October 15th, 2010

Anti-gay activists argue that the federal government has an obligation to appeal pro-gay rulings as far as they can. And this administration has – to date – chosen to appeal decisions that have been made in Federal Court which find anti-gay laws and policies to be in violation with the US Constitution.

But this argument is false. There is no legal obligation to defend laws, much less appeal the rulings of judges. And this administration’s Justice Department does not always challenge cases that they lose: (WaPo)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled Aug. 6 that the Park Service’s regulation forcing individuals or small groups to obtain a permit for First Amendment activities was unconstitutional. But the court upheld the agency’s policy of setting aside designated park areas for larger demonstrations and the sale of printed material after applicants obtained a permit.

The Justice Department this week declined to appeal the ruling.

Servicemembers United, which is furious with the Obama Administration for their decision to appeal Judge Phillips’ finding on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, noted their choice. They also noted who had challenged the Park Service, the notoriously anti-gay Alliance Defense Fund.

“In the very same week, the administration says that it absolutely must appeal a federal court’s decision on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ while it orders the Justice Department not to appeal a federal court’s ruling in favor of the conservative Alliance Defense Fund. This contradiction is simply incomprehensible and insulting,” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and the sole named veteran plaintiff in the case along with the Log Cabin Republicans. “Servicemembers United renews its call for the administration to withdraw its appeal of both the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ ruling and the injunction pursuant to that ruling.”

I happen to think that the ruling reducing permit requirements for small casual gatherings is not unreasonable. But you have to admit that Nicholson has a point.



October 15th, 2010 | LINK

I don’t see how anyone is surprised. I openly regret voting for Obama. I wanted Hillary. Still do actually. But he’s such an slap in the face for the gay community.

Priya Lynn
October 15th, 2010 | LINK

No guarantee Hillary would have been any different. She doesn’t support marriage equality either.

October 15th, 2010 | LINK

This may only effect but a few people, but the refusal to appeal sends a strong message from the Obama admistration: “Gays are worthless, until we need campaign money.”

This, along with several other recent Obama administrative decisions, has finally confirmed what I have failed to realize all along: I am finally going to vote Green Party in the next Presidential Election. I am not a “gaily-forward” party ticket voter, but Obama has hereby lost my vote. I do not care that my vote may lead to a Republican winning the election. It won’t. (I live in Arizona, anyhow.)

I will, hereafter, vote from my heart, as opposed to being swayed from pandering to the gay community — only to be forgotten the day after voting day.

Rick Rosendall
October 15th, 2010 | LINK

I think we deserve to be screwed and screwed and screwed again if we don’t stop this obnoxious and dishonest habit of turning disappointment with Obama into an excuse for reviving old resentments about Hillary Clinton not winning the nomination.

Every Hillary supporter who justified their hostility to Obama by citing his opposition to marriage equality and the fact that he was supported by homophobic Illinois state senator James Meeks was either stunningly uninformed or stunningly dishonest. Hillary opposes marriage equality too, and she was supported by the now-notorious Bishop Eddie Long of Georgia.

You are not entitled to your own facts. The causes for which we are fighting are too important to be exploited for cheap intraparty sniping.

October 16th, 2010 | LINK

Seems to me that the real force behind this is Secretary Gates. If memory serves, he was not really behind repeal, to begin with. We all know, unfortunately, that a lot of the time Obama does not act like he’s in charge. How many times has he put his foot down and said, “this is the way it’s going to be”? His actions don’t back up his speeches.

October 16th, 2010 | LINK

I’m of two minds here. I heard a former Solicitor General give a very cogent argument about why cases need to be defended by the Executive (DOJ) on the Maddow show. He gave the example of the Health Care legislation that passed this year.

Basically if you allow a single Federal-level judge to overturn a law without appealing, then it effectively allows an executive to take any law they don’t agree with, go shopping for a judge, and overturn acts of Congress.

For example, imagine Obama is replaced by a Republican who disagrees with the health care legislation. The case of the states could be steered into the court of a conservative judge, who then throws out the health care legislation. Then the White House refuses to appeal, effectively forming a conspiracy between a single judge and the Executive to overturn the will of Congress. It sets a terrible precedent.

In that vein, I’m VERY disappointed to see the DOJ picking and choosing which cases to appeal. That really pisses me off.

October 16th, 2010 | LINK

This is beyond disappointing. Obama’s argument regarding having to appeal is baloney. He has chosen to not appeal other cases; however, when it comes to gay issuus he choses to appeal. He has lied to our community and there is no denying it now. He can’t have it both ways: he says pretty words but acts in direct opposition to those words. This is about dignity and respect. I dont think I can support this man. To do so would be to accept that I have no dignity and will accept crumbs from our “fierce” advocate.

October 17th, 2010 | LINK

Wow… this is pretty weak stuff.

Yes, the ADF won this, but the changed in rules allows gay people the same freedom of assembly.

Plus the rules were not a law passed by Congress.

Weak. Really, really weak.

October 28th, 2010 | LINK

Andrew is right on this one. The Obama administration doesn’t have as much latitude to decide which cases to overturn as people would like to think.

Another very important difference in the cases the administration has chosen to appeal versus those it hasn’t has to do with the strength of the case. The Park Service’s case was a very weak case, and was actually an appeal from the District Court level. The next level of appeal would have been to the Supreme Court, and that’s a different bag of beans. The DADT case however, is being appealed to Court of Appeals, the same level as the Park Service’s case ended.

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