Closing arguments are to be held in Riverside, California today in the trial brought by Log Cabin Republicans opposing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The group will ask the judge to declare the policy unconstitutional, the AP reports:
"The case is unique in that it is not based on an individual's complaint but rather is a broad, sweeping attack on the policy. It is the biggest legal test of the law in recent years.
The case has put the Obama administration in the awkward position of defending a policy the president wants repealed. Government attorneys have argued throughout the two-week trial that Congress should decide on the policy — not a federal judge.
They presented only the policy's legislative history in their defense.
The Log Cabin Republicans' witnesses included former officers discharged under the policy and other experts who presented studies of how openly gay troops do not affect unit cohesion or military readiness, as proponents of the law have argued. The group's attorneys also submitted President Barack Obama's remarks that the "don't ask, don't tell" policy weakens national security.
The plaintiff's lead lawyer, Dan Woods, argued the policy violates the rights of gay military members to free speech, due process and open association."
Servicemembers United's Alex Nicholson testified Tuesday. Karen Ocamb at LGBT POV has a full report and interview with Nicholson.
Judge Virginia Phillips will issue the verdict in writing, and she may decide to wait and see if Congress repeals it.
If that is the case, it looks like she will be waiting beyond September.
"Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) told the Blade on Thursday he’s expecting the full Senate to take up “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal in September after lawmakers return from August recess…'What we’re hoping to do before August is to have an agreement which will pave the way for it being brought up right after the recess,' Levin said.
Bryan Thomas, a Levin spokesperson, later clarified that Levin was referring to an agreement negotiated between majority and minority leadership.
Levin, who had earlier said he was hoping for a vote on the defense bill in July, said this agreement would eliminate the possibility of a filibuster on a motion to proceed after lawmakers return.
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said his organization is also urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to bring the defense legislation to the floor 'right after the Labor Day recess.'
'Yes, it would have been better if we were on the Senate floor this month, but the calendar was just too crowded,' Sarvis said.
Sarvis said scheduling the defense bill for a vote in early September is 'absolutely essential' to move forward with repeal to finish legislative action 'before Congress goes into ‘lame-duck mode.’'"