Legal Issues

A More Perfect Military

How the Constitution Can Make Our Military Stronger
October 29, 2010
Diane H. Mazur
Oxford University Press

Why are politicians so reluctant to question the military? Why do the President, Congress and Courts so often defer to the military's preferences in a system in which civilians are supposed to be in control? Why do people question whether federal courts have the right to change military policies, or whether the Constitution even applies to the military? Professor Diane Mazur's new book "A More Perfect Military: How the Constitution Can Make Our Military Stronger" explains why our civil-military relationships have become strained and dysfunctional in the all-volunteer era. It's because civilians-primarily the Courts, but also Congress and the President-have broken the bond the military once had with the Constitution. Professor Mazur is Legal Co-Director of the Palm Center.  read more »

Statement by Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin on Today's Injunction Ruling

Release Date: 
October 12, 2010
Press Contact: 
Indra Lusero, Director of Operations, 303-902-9402,; Cathy Renna,, 917-757-6123

Santa Barbara, CA. (Oct. 12, 2010) - Legal experts have agreed that the Department of Justice is under no obligation to appeal this ruling.  President Obama can end 'don't ask, don't tell' now simply by allowing Judge Phillips's decision to stand.  Should the administration continue to insist on waiting for Congressional action, we may have to wait many more years for the Pentagon to stop firing qualified men and women under this discriminatory policy.  read more »

Experts: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is Now at an Impasse

Presidential Leadership with DOJ or a Moratorium Can End this Mess
Release Date: 
September 24, 2010
Press Contact: 
Cathy Renna,, 917-757-6123; Christopher Neff,, 202-372-7227

Santa Barbara, Calif. (September 24, 2010) - Today the Palm Center released a statement in response to the filing by the Department of Justice in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, which requested limiting the scope and staying the enactment of any future injunction against "don't ask, don't tell" in the case. [Note: the filing did not specifically address the issue of an appeal to the case. That appeal will depend upon the final injunction decision by Judge Phillips].  read more »



Much of the opposition to Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court came from her blistering criticism of "don't ask, don't tell." She has called the policy "a profound wrong, a moral injustice of the first order." As dean of Harvard Law School, she refused to directly sponsor military recruiters because they could not follow the same non-discrimination rules that applied to every other employer.  read more »

Elena Kagan and Blind Faith in the Military


According to Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan "punished the military and demeaned our soldiers as they were courageously fighting two wars overseas" when, as Dean of Harvard Law School, she declined to provide military recruiters the same access to campus resources that other employers enjoyed.  read more »

"We're here to defend democracy, not to practice it."

 (This post submitted by Christian Leuprecht) Implicit in this claim is the proposition is an allegedly inherent contradiction: That mounting an effective defence of the democratic way of life and its fundamental values of freedom, equality, and justice requires undemocratic practices that skirt these values.

Who's Afraid of the Military?

(This post submitted by Diane H. Mazur) What President Obama should consider in choosing a nominee for the Supreme Court, and why it matters in ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Research Note on Pentagon Practice of Sending Known Gays and Lesbians to War

Stop Loss
July 1, 2007
Nathaniel Frank, Senior Research Fellow
Palm Center

Click here to download the paper in its entirety.


I. Overview of Stop-Loss
II. Summary of Available Evidence from World War II to the Present
III. Brief History of Known Gays Serving During Wartime
IV. Current Discharge Figures

This paper presents an overview of Stop-Loss, provides a summary of available evidence from World War II to 2002 including a history of known gays serving during wartime, and includes discharge figues of the time.  read more »

Does “don’t ask, don’t tell” impact transgender service members?


Yes, it does.

That was one of the findings from a unique and timely survey conducted by the Transgender American Veteran’s Association [TAVA] and analyzed in August by Palm Center researchers.  read more »

Balancing Your Strengths Against Your Felonies

Considerations for Military Recruitment of Ex-Offenders
September 1, 2007
Michael Boucai
University of Miami Law Review

This article deals with ex-offender employment in the U.S. Armed Forces, one context in which the necessity of balancing strengths against felonies is taken very seriously.

Click here to download the article.

A full list of the waivers listed, by offense and by service is here.

This article deals with
ex-offender employment in the U.S. Armed Forces, one context in which
the necessity of balancing strengths against felonies is taken very
seriously.  read more »

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