FROM JD Smith
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' on a Legal Rollercoaster Last month, Federal Judge Virginia Phillips declared that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" deprives gays and lesbians of equal rights under the Constitution, and further deprives the military of highly qualified officers. Ten days ago she ordered the Pentagon to stop enforcing the law, allowing openly gay and lesbian recruits to volunteer. Two days ago an appellate court temporarily suspended her order. Yesterday, the Pentagon said it would clear up the confusion by limiting the power of discharge to the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force. Will a President who says he opposes the law tell the secretaries what to do? Will the lame-duck session of Congress repeal the law before it gets to the US Supreme Court? We hear what it's like for gays, lesbians and their comrades who are serving now, with all three branches of government trying to decide what to do.
Political appointments and the reshaping of the judiciary President Trump has the chance for a long-term impact -- not just on the US Supreme Court, but on the entire federal court system. And his nominees are likely to get the support of a massive spending campaign by donors who don't have to reveal their names. Can President Trump "pack" the federal court system?
Is America turning its back on the world? President Trump has made no secret of his contempt for the United Nations — and he's not alone. But, will proposed cuts in US contributions be counterproductive to America's role in the world and to national security?
The airline electronics ban and what it means President Trump's Department of Homeland Security has banned all electronic devices larger than cell phones on some foreign airlines flying direct to the US. It's causing confusion as well as inconvenience. Is the motive really just increased security?
The 'deconstruction' of the administrative state President Trump has failed to fill high-level positions in important agencies — and some people he has named want to phase out the agencies they're supposed to lead. We look at the possible consequences for delivering services and providing security — and at top aide Steve Bannon's plans for "deconstructing the administrative state."