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DOJ Official: Defending DADT and DOMA Has Been 'Difficult'

In an interview published today, Talking Points Memo asks Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Tony West about the Obama administration and gay rights.

West Says West: "Those are difficult cases because as you know the administration has a long standing policy view on this -- supports the repeal of DOMA and supports the repeal of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell'...The Department of Justice, notwithstanding the administration policy view which is strongly held by us, has an institutional responsibility to defend the constitutionality of congressional statutes, whether we agree with them or not."

TPM adds:

West said Monday that DOJ was discharging its responsibility to the tradition of the Justice Department while making adjustments to the arguments in line with the administration's views.

"I think that the best example -- let me give you one -- in the Defense of Marriage Act -- you'll notice that we have not only discharged our responsibility to defend the constitutionality of a congressional statute, but we've done so in a way which reflects the policy values of this administration," West said.

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  1. Bullshit. The Obama DOJ is the most homophobic department of government. Tony West has signed dozens of homophobic briefs. What a shameless liar, he must take us for fools: We're not, we can read.

    Posted by: Alex 0_0 | Nov 22, 2010 1:48:33 PM


  2. Aww, I'm feeling so sorry for you! NOT! What a load of steaming BS! The DoJ didn't have to defend DADT or DOMA just like they haven't defended other laws that presidents throughout American history thought were unconstitutional or abhorrent. DADT was defended and declared unconstitutional. They did their duty, the courts effectively made DADT illegal. What did DoJ do? They appealed it, resurrecting it when it was a dead issue. No, they were just following the orders of the Homophobe-in-Chief. Please! Mr. West, save your silver-tongued crap for the courtroom.

    Posted by: Brad | Nov 22, 2010 1:58:15 PM


  3. LGBT people who continues to vote for Democrats are like Jews who vote for Nazis. We'll never be equal so long as we insist gay bashers be the ones to "free" us.

    Posted by: Lonnie | Nov 22, 2010 2:02:03 PM


  4. Yeah, I too will call bullshit on something I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT. But hey, I kinda read some articles by people that also don't really know the situation.

    How many freaking people need to say "This isn't that easy" for you people to get it. You guys are such assholes that all this hatred and impatience stems from your disappointment in his TIMING of getting rid of these policies.

    You guys are pouting and it's really shitty. And I seriously believe that none of you can find a more constructive way to get your point across, You guys are that stupid and horrible, go join the Tea Party, if you haven't already.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Nov 22, 2010 2:04:14 PM


  5. Translation: Well, gosh, golly and darn, it's so hard for us to be institutional bigots, but Congress made us. So we're gonna darn well do it.

    Posted by: MrRoboto | Nov 22, 2010 2:04:26 PM


  6. Blah, blah, blah ... I don't hear you.

    More BS from the department of "justice".

    I can see, smell, and hear HOMOPHOBES a mile away, especially the DOJ ones.

    Posted by: FunMe | Nov 22, 2010 2:05:58 PM


  7. And what about LBGT people who vote for Republicans, Lonnie?

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Nov 22, 2010 2:10:30 PM


  8. FenRox - are you off your meds?

    Nothing in the Constitution or federal law requires the DOJ to defend laws the administration believes are unconstitutional. That's not "pouting." That 's a fact.

    Posted by: justiceontherocks | Nov 22, 2010 2:14:44 PM


  9. The administration never said they thought DADT and DOMA were unconstitutional. That is what they are fighting in court. They simply believe that it is an unjust and unfair law. Which is true.

    Every bad, prejudiced, unjust law isn't always necessarily unconstitutional as well.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Nov 22, 2010 2:26:48 PM


  10. The answer is yes. Fenrox is an idiotic fool who endorsed stripping DADT from the defense reauthorization bill as per knights out and the palm center's "advice". It has no interest in gay civil equality...much like a member of goproud.

    Has it been rough to defend bigoted laws? Awwwwwwww...imagine how rough it is to be victimized by them. This is soundbite game to appeal to the wealth of stupid voters in the lgbt community.

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 22, 2010 2:34:13 PM


  11. Fenrox - you seriously need some help distinguishing reality from idol worship. Beyond the junior high school childishness of how you frame whatever it is exactly you're trying to say (point being: grow up, your writing makes you appear to be a whiny, bitchy little brat who can't handle that people disagree with him,) you are simply not correct. The DOJ is not required (there is no "institutional responsibility") to file briefs defending anything. Sorry. Fact: THEY DO NOT HAVE TO. The DOJ works for the administration. If the Obama Administration didn't want to defend a federal law, the DOJ could just sit on their hands. It may be a blanket Obama Administration policy to defend any federal law found to be unconstitutional, but again, it's not a must.

    Posted by: BartB | Nov 22, 2010 2:39:46 PM


  12. Ah, Brian, but DADT and DOMA *are* unconstitutional according to a handful of courts where Obama elected--elected--to use the power of the Executive to single-handedly prop up anti-gay discrimination where it was struck down.

    Posted by: the greasybear | Nov 22, 2010 2:46:24 PM


  13. "you'll notice that we have not only discharged our responsibility to defend the constitutionality of a congressional statute, but we've done so in a way which reflects the policy values of this administration," West said."

    Really, Tony?

    You're reflecting the policy values of this Administration.

    That is a stunning statement that I am sure that John Aravosis will pounce on; in fact, that's so stupendously stunning of a statement that I won't blame Aravosis for pouncing on that.

    Well, Obamabots, discuss that statement.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Nov 22, 2010 2:51:19 PM


  14. The Nazi comparison is classy, Lonnie. You keep being you!

    As for the DOJ, your argument is one big fail: Is this why you're too busy to prosecute the laws against waterboarding? The DOJ has convicted people of using waterboarding in the past; why aren't Bush and Rummie in custody?

    Posted by: pParkerT | Nov 22, 2010 2:52:49 PM


  15. Fenrox you can spout your idiocy all you want but I can see with my own eyes that Obama sucks on a whole range of issues from allowing war criminals to walk away scott free to bailing out evil banksters to firing a remarkable civil servant like Shirley Sherrod because he's so afraid of the republicans. He's a coward through and through and I will not be voting for him again. He'd better hope someone like Bloomberg doesn't run in 2012.

    Posted by: Jersey | Nov 22, 2010 2:55:44 PM


  16. "The DOJ has an institutional responsibility to defend the constitutionality of congressional statutes, whether we agree with them or not."


    YOU LIE. There have been a number of congressional statutes that the administration has decided not to defend in court that are IDENTICAL in nature.

    You were DIRECTED to defend them. You are not inherently obligated to defend congressional statutes UNLESS the administration views them as constitutional.

    Why the fuck do you think Obama OUTRIGHT REFUSES to answer the question of whether or not he thinks DOMA, DADT and the rest are constitutional or not?

    YOU LIE, sir. YOU LIE.

    Posted by: gridlock | Nov 22, 2010 2:57:59 PM


  17. Just so this is clear: Obama's DOJ could have declined to appeal the death-knell of DADT, just like Obama's DOJ declined to appeal an adverse ruling overturning National Park Service restrictions on conservative religious evangelizing in National Parks--look it up for yourself. The adverse decision Obama's DOJ elected not to appeal last month is here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/14/AR2010101407137.html

    Posted by: the greasybear | Nov 22, 2010 3:03:43 PM


  18. comparing being gay to pedophilia and incest reflects the policy values of this administration? Fuck you Tony, and your boss. You're both lying bigots.

    Posted by: gaylib | Nov 22, 2010 3:07:05 PM


  19. "The Department of Justice, notwithstanding the administration policy view which is strongly held by us, has an institutional responsibility to defend the constitutionality of congressional statutes, whether we agree with them or not."

    That's just not true. A law is not constitutional simply because Congress passed it. That's for a court to decide.

    Obama and the DOJ could have agreed with the Court

    Posted by: JeffNYC | Nov 22, 2010 3:10:11 PM


  20. Yes of course Mr. West, it must be very "difficult" invoking homophobic canards, like bestiality and pedophilia, unnecessarily. Difficult indeed.

    Posted by: Tollendyr | Nov 22, 2010 3:17:29 PM


  21. Hey Tony! Why didn't the DoJ defend those whites and mixed couples whose voting rights were abused by Black racists in Oakland, CA last year?? Where was the DoJ then? Missing in action again!

    This DoJ and spokesholes like Tony West are not only institutionally homophobic, they're racist too. Justice is not blind in the Obama administration, and if DADT repeal fails, Obama will go down in history as a president who supported a discriminatory policy affecting tens of thousands of Americans. No amount of spokesholes will be able to explain it away.

    Posted by: Fed Up | Nov 22, 2010 3:21:05 PM


  22. Gee, and here I thought it was difficult being constantly discriminated against. Thanks so much for clarifying "difficult" for me. Douchebags.

    Posted by: wtf | Nov 22, 2010 3:31:26 PM


  23. @Jersey, God damn, Thank you for posting some real things to hold Obama accountable for, so many people just parrot what someone else said.

    And hey, you guys are way too cynical, you all know absolutely everything about the nuance of this situation. Except you guys don't really know that much about this do you?

    Yes the president could focus on this issue, he isn't and wont. Is he the worst most despicable person on the planet? HELL NO, if you think you can lump Obama in that group you need some serious perspective! I mean there are thousands of people in this country DEDICATED to getting rid of our rights. While that is happening we have a country on the verge of collapse. Everything ANY PRESIDENT has to work on right now has a doom-ish aspect to it.

    Off the top of my head, things I prioritize over DADT:

    Education
    Net Neutrality
    Infrastructure reform
    Jobs
    Healthcare Reform
    Wall street reform
    DOMA
    Gulf accountability
    Pies for random people
    DADT

    I am pissed at him too, it's hard not to be, he is steeped in potential. His potential to do things is all you guys focus on. Now, if someone is clearly not going to focus on your issue because WHATEVER reason and all you can do is stomp your feet and point out all these things he clearly isn't going top do, YOU ARE POUTING, LIKE A CHILD.

    Get over it, like any of you want to be in the Army, DADT will be gone when we are in a draft situation anyway. Why not focus on a real thing like DOMA (to which your incessant pouting is much more just.)

    Posted by: Fenrox | Nov 22, 2010 3:44:28 PM


  24. demanding civil equality=feet stomping? LOL! You've officially become a homophobe, fenrox. But, I imagine you'll continue to prattle on with your misguided nonsense, for like the public flasher, you are incapable of self control.

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 22, 2010 3:51:18 PM


  25. And it is irritating that faggots like fenrox and chris baron (different sides of the same coin) will be taken along for the ride when civil equality is achieved. Faggots that stood in the way of achieving it. They're best ignored as they've nothing constructive to say.

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 22, 2010 3:59:35 PM


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