Levin College of Law

Legal expert on “don’t ask, don’t tell” available for comment

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A Senate vote could come today on whether to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The outcome of the vote will depend on negotiations on the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes the language to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

“Congress is not the only branch of government with a say about the policy,” said University of Florida Levin College of Law Professor and expert on “don’t ask, don’t tell,” Diane H. Mazur. “If Congress fails to accept its responsibility to repeal a law that raises constitutional problems and keeps qualified people out of the military, then courts and the president should take control. The president can issue an executive order suspending the policy, and he can also direct his lawyers to stop defending a policy that a federal court has already found unconstitutional.”

Mazur, the author of a series of reports advising the Pentagon on how to curb enforcement of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” is available to comment on today’s activities and the future of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. She is also the author of a new book on civil-military relations, A More Perfect Military: How the Constitution Can Make Our Military Stronger, published by Oxford University Press.

Mazur is a former U.S. Air Force captain and the legal co-director of the University of California, Santa Barbara-based Palm Center, the premier academic and research organization for the study of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Her reports listed below, available at http://www.palmcenter.org, have been an important part of the debate regarding gays in the military:

  • The Department of Defense’s Obligation to Comply with the Constitutional Ruling in Witt v. Department of the Air Force (August 2010)
  • Memo for the Pentagon Working Group: Encouraging Candid Communications From Service Members While Mitigating Risk of Separation Under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (April 2010)
  • Secretary of Defense Authority to Implement “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in a Manner Consistent With National Security (July 2009)
  • Presidential Authority to Suspend Discharges for Homosexual Conduct, in How to End “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: A Roadmap of Political, Legal, Regulatory, and Organizational Steps to Equal Treatment (May 2009)

To view Mazur’s faculty page, visit http://www.law.ufl.edu/faculty/mazur.

Diane H. Mazur

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Published: December 9th, 2010

Category: News

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