Hot Air ignores reality to argue administration shirked legal duties in DADT case

Blog ››› ››› ADAM SHAH

Noting that the government "called no witnesses" in Log Cabin Republicans v. Gates, Hot Air's Allahpundit argued that the Obama administration shirked its legal responsibility to defend the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. In fact, while President Obama has called for the repeal of DADT, the Justice Department clearly met whatever legal responsibility it has to defend DADT.

Allahpundit quotes from the district court's opinion in Log Cabin Republicans, which states, "it again must be noted that Defendants called no witnesses, put on no affirmative case, and only entered into evidence the legislative history of the Act." Allahpundit the speculated: "Sounds like the feds maybe kinda sorta wanted to lose this one, possibly to help break the logjam in the Senate. (Maybe something for the lame-duck session?)"

However, the very opinion from which Allahpundit quotes also noted the reason the government did not put on witnesses or present evidence other than the legislative history: because it contended that all such evidence was irrelevant to the case. From the opinion:

Defendants asserted relevance (and often other) objections to nearly every exhibit Plaintiff sought to introduce into evidence during trial, as well as to nearly all the testimonial evidence offered. According to Defendants, because Plaintiff challenges the constitutionality of the statute on its face, rather than challenging its application, the only evidence the Court should -- indeed may -- consider, is the statute itself and the bare legislative history; thus, according to Defendants, all other evidence is irrelevant.

Moreover, the government filed hundreds of pages of legal briefs in the case to defend DADT and has defended the policy in the Supreme Court as well.

The Log Cabin Republicans filed the case challenging Don't Ask, Don't Tell in December 2004, during the George W. Bush presidency. The Obama administration has been in charge of the case for less than two years. Nevertheless, a search of the federal court's PACER database shows that the Obama Justice Department filed hundreds of pages of motions, including a motion to dismiss the case; a motion to be allowed to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit when it lost the motion to dismiss; and a motion for summary judgment.

Furthermore, the Obama administration also defended DADT in other cases as well, including Petrangelo v. Gates, a case in which the administration filed a Supreme Court brief defending the constitutionality of DADT and asking the Court not to review a lower court ruling that upheld DADT.

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