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Judge orders 'don't ask, don't tell' injunction


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Ap via Yahoo News:

A federal judge issued a worldwide injunction Tuesday immediately stopping enforcement of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, suspending the 17-year-old ban on openly gay U.S. troops.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips' landmark ruling also ordered the government to suspend and discontinue all pending discharge proceedings and investigations under the policy.

U.S. Department of Justice attorneys have 60 days to appeal. Pentagon and Department of Justice officials said they are reviewing the case and had no immediate comment.

The injunction goes into effect immediately, said Dan Woods, the attorney who represented the Log Cabin Republicans, the gay rights group that filed the lawsuit in 2004 to stop the ban's enforcement.

"Don't ask, don't tell, as of today at least, is done, and the government is going to have to do something now to resurrect it," Woods said. "This is an extremely significant, historic decision. Once and for all, this failed policy is stopped. Fortunately now we hope all Americans who wish to serve their country can."

Legal experts say the Obama administration is under no legal obligation to appeal and could let Phillips' ruling stand.

Phillips' decision was widely cheered by gay rights organizations that credited her with getting accomplished what President Obama and Washington politics could not.

"This order from Judge Phillips is another historic and courageous step in the right direction, a step that Congress has been noticeably slow in taking," said Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans
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Another case of an activist judge legislating from the bench


Who is Judge Virginia Phillips?


Virginia A. Phillips (born 1957) is a judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California. She is one of approximately 35 district judges serving in this district.


Phillips was born in Orange, California. She received a B.A. from the University of California, Riverside in 1979 and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law in 1982. She was in private practice in Riverside, California from 1982 to 1991. She was a Commissioner for the Riverside County Superior Court from 1991 to 1995.


In 1995, Phillips became a United States magistrate judge for the Central District of California. On January 26, 1999, Phillips was nominated by President Bill Clinton to be a district judge for the Central District, a seat vacated by William M. Byrne, Jr. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on November 10, 1999, and received her commission on November 15, 1999.

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