maddow disease

Obama Continues to Let Gay Soldiers Get Fired – And Begs Courts to Let It Continue

Of the 12 gay military plaintiffs who took Don’t Ask Don’t Tell up to the federal appeals court level and got rebuffed, only one — James E. Pietrangelo II — tried to get the Supreme Court to hear his case. It’s not a matter of heroism, just strategy. (The other 11 plaintiffs, represented by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, opted not to go to the Supreme Court because they see a less-than-gay-friendly make up of the current bench.) Sure, the Supreme Court today opted not to hear Pietrangelo’s case — but perhaps more significant is the Obama administration’s siding against Pietrangelo, and other gay soldiers, and actually actively advising the Court to continue upholding DADT. Kudos to Rachel Maddow for continuing to keep the heat on.

Oh, and Anderson Cooper too, who invited Dan Choi on to chat. Choi reveals his own dismissal hearing is June 30.

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  • michael

    I wonder if the public is for stopping this policy because of gay rights or because basically many just feel like gay lives are basically useless and no real loss should they die in combat. Kind of like the wealthy felt toward the draft and Vietnam, it was not the fortunate sons who were being sent off to die.

  • mgh

    enough with the anti-Obama invective! if he really wanted this policy, he’d ASK the Court to take this case and to UPHOLD the policy. but he didn’t do that, because he knew he’d win and we’d be worse off.

    it doesn’t look it, but this is a victory for our side. let’s stop being blinded by our biases…


  • Captain Freedom

    @mgh: As somebody who has been highly critical of the President and unhappy with his inaction even I must agree with you on this one.

    The Obama Administration asked the courts to throw it away because they did not want to take a position defending the policy and said they plan to overturn it. Now the only question is… WHEN!??!

  • nathan


    Obama is liar. He says he’s an advocate and has done zero to change the status quo, which is not acceptable. Why are you being such a fanboi?

    He’s an advocate? Well I’m a little teapot. Words don’t mean anything. Actions count.

    He won’t get my vote in 3.5 years.

  • dgz

    @Captain Freedom: that’s very open-minded of you, and very correct.


    Let me put this legally (keep in mind i’m by no means an “o-bot,” and supported Hil):

    stop loss order or not, the exec branch is CONSTITUTIONALLY OBLIGATED to defend and enforce EVERY LAW in court, whether they like it or not. even if he were to issue a stop-loss, the administration would still be required to defend DADT, and if they deliberately did a bad job in court, the attorneys would face ethical sanctions.

    but maddow is wrong; there is federal precedent, whether the supremes hear it or not, but it is only binding in the federal circuit where it was heard (persuasive everywhere else, tho), but the Supremes (if they heard it) would be very likely to uphold DADT (yes, even the liberal ones). they give very broad discretion to military policies, and the standard for this type of discrimination is exceedingly low (rational basis standard of review).

  • rick

    obama has been president for around 5 months. you seem to want everything fixed right now. he can’t do everything and was given one totally fucked up country to fix by the previous administration. DEAL WITH IT! this is nothing but a distraction right now from the bigger picture.

  • Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell

    @mgh: I couldn’t agree with you more.

  • GJR

    So, so, so sick of this argument, “He’s only been around 5 months..” He has legions of people helping him do things, there are members of congress, senators, administration officials, advocacy groups. How about he get the ball rolling now so there can be results later. There is one bill in the house, stalled in committee. It would take 15 minutes for Obama to issue a moratorium on dismissals or at least the witch hunts on gay military personnel until this issue is resolved.

    How about having a town meeting where gay members of the military appear and say they were dedicated members of their squad and had no problem? How about veterans from wars like Vietnam come out and say they were gay yet served without incident? How about straight members of the military come out and say they support their gay brothers and sisters in the military?

    How about Obama give a policy speech on gay rights, where he lays out a timetable and a plan of action for getting this repealed?

    He has done NONE of the above.Pietrangelo said it right – Obama spent more time picking his dog Bo than doing anything for GLBT people. Heaven knows he shouldn’t do anything about the fact you can be fired in something like 34 states for being gay, but Obama doesn’t care.

    Not a dime to the party or a second of my time and activism unless action is taken. I will urge GLBT Americans to withhold their votes in 2012 if Obama doesn’t take action.

    Such bullshit – he’s got so much to do – well gee, he should have not done anything about swine flu then, because he was so busy. Maybe he shouldn’t have had the Steelers to the White House because he was so busy. Or maybe he should have waited on the speech mending fences with Muslims abroad and instead focused on the AMERICAN citizens who voted for him in vast majorities. Until I see some real substantive changes, Obama is dead to me. And spare me the “McCain would be worse” bullshit. I didn’t vote for “slightly better than McCain..” , I voted for a new change and hope for America. Boy, was I duped.

  • Lance Rockland

    @rick: Obama can do more than ONE thing at a time, so shut up!

  • timncguy

    @dgz: Can you provide some independant link verifying your claim that the administration is constitutionally obligated to defend every law in court?

    I don’t believe that is true.

    We’ve been told several times on this blog and others that the next BIG test of Obama’s “gay friendliness” will be when they make the decision as to whether they will or will not defend DOMA in court by the end of June.

  • Joeb1212

    @nathan: Concise AND accurate. I wish others were that smart!

  • rigs

    anyone else think Dan Choi and Cooper flirt a little? I get the vibe.

  • DuttyBarb

    Obama should repeal DADT…always thot it was a stupid law.

  • Dan

    “Even if the Supreme Court had taken the Pietrangelo case, the Court WOULD NOT HAVE DECIDED the constitutionality of DADT.” -Servicemembers Legal Defense Network

  • james ii

    GJR: Amen, brother.

  • Sceth

    Pietrangelo’s reaction (from,8599,1903545,00.html?imw=Y )
    James Pietrangelo II: “He’s a coward, a bigot and a pathological liar,” Pietrangelo said in an interview with TIME shortly after the high court declined to hear his appeal. “This is a guy who spent more time picking out his dog, Bo, and playing with him on the White House lawn than he has working for equality for gay people,” he added. “If there were millions of black people as second-class citizens, or millions of Jews or Irish, he would have acted immediately” upon taking office to begin working to lift “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

  • Michael @

    The government ABSOLUTELY can choose not to pursue any case they want to.

    Gay sailor Keith Meinhold was reinstated into the Navy after the Clinton Justice Department chose not to appeal to the Supreme Court.


  • edgyguy1426

    and I say with his popularity at what may be an all-time high, now is the perfect time to spend political capital on things like DADT, DOMA, health care, etc., because as one knows one never maked friends in office, only enemies, and later may be too late.

  • Alexa

    I completely agree with Rachel on this. Asking the court not to hear the case is not a bad thing because it doesn’t put the government in the position of having to defend DADT, but there is no reason why Obama is moving so slowly on repealing it, or, at the very least, putting a hold on the dismissals.

  • Michael @


    Uh, Alexa, the government DID defend DADT to the Court:

    “In court papers, THE ADMINISTRATION SAID the appeals court ruled correctly in this case when it found that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ IS ‘rationally related to the government’s legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion’.” – The Associated Press.

    We’re still waiting for an explanation of WHY they CHOSE to do that when

    1. the government CAN refuse to take action in ANY court case;

    2. the case only involved deciding on this ONE soldier’s status NOT the Constitutionality of the law itself [courts ordered three different gay servicemembers reinstated WITHOUT saying the ban itself was illegal].

    3. the administration just agreed with the phony reasons Congress used to pass DADT in the first place. WHAT are they going to say to Congress now to keep Obama’s promise to fight for its repeal?

  • galefan20004

    Lets play this out…

    Lets go back in time to November 2008, your choices were between McCain and Obama (Clinton doesn’t even factor in because she couldn’t win the primary). Do you guys honestly think McCain would have made the repeal of DADT a priority? Its not like he would have even touched it in his presidency. Ok, lets fast forward to November 2012, your choices will most likely be Obama or Palin. Do you honestly think Palin will do more for gay rights than Obama will? Do you honestly think that Palin will make a better president than Obama? It sucks that most of the time, in the history of this nation, we end up voting not for who we want to be president but for who we believe will be less of a failure.

  • John

    Obama is the biggest fraud ever !!

  • BOQ

    Rachel finally caught up with everyone else? Perhaps in between drinking binges I wonder if she realizes what a pompas ass she looks like after cheerleading for Barak for almost 3 years. Does she feel ass big a the horses a– she looks like? You get what you vote for Rachel. Thanks for lying to all the HS kids that watch your show that Bark was the new gay patriot. Her ratings are terrible anyway. People are realizing she is full of BS and changes her story every other day.

  • bigjake75

    Truman integrated the military by his order. With one word he ended segregation in the services. Obama does not have to wait for Congress. He is Commander in Chief of the military. That is as close to god-like power you can get. What he says, goes. He sucks, and is playing games with our rights. Ironic, eh?

  • rick

    obama is doing this correctly. it is the same as he is doing with the war crimes stuff. public outrage and a call for something to be done. it is happening. the right is losing badly. they all sound like complete nut jobs. he is giving them the rope and they are hanging themselves with their own words. we don’t need the fairness doctrine, it is letting their nonsense be recorded for all time. the right doesn’t seem to comprehend the concept of recording devices.

    they all sound like idiots and it is causing a change in public opinion. especially since the people that got fired are on the television lookity boxes telling their stories.

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