McVeigh v. Cohen
Judge Sporkin's Ruling And The Continuing Saga
The present case only being concerned with a preliminary injunction, Judge Sporkin offered speculation that "when this case is finally determined . . . [it will be] on the basis of the `Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue' policy." But in order to make that policy work, both sides would need to exercise some restraint. Up to this point, it was clear who had failed to do so: "So far . . . while Plaintiff complied with the requirements imposed on him . . . the Defendant went further than the policy permits." Judge Sporkin ordered that, on the basis of the plaintiff's show of good cause, the motion for a preliminary injunction was granted. The navy was thus enjoined from taking any action against McVeigh on the basis of his sexual orientation, "pending final resolution of Plaintiff's Complaint." Finally, the two parties were ordered to appear again in court on 29 January 1998 for a status conference, at which time they would together determine a briefing schedule and a date for a hearing on final injunctive relief.
As David Loundy of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reported, McVeigh had a possible case not only against the navy, but against AOL for providing information that it should not have provided. AOL, as Loundy wrote, "pleaded `OOPs.' McVeigh is reportedly considering a lawsuit."
With regard to McVeigh, the "Gay/Lesbian Issues" online site reported that the navy had "taken a hard line since Sporkin's ruling." It had refused to return McVeigh to his former chief of boat position, an action which David Glass of the Justice Department defended by referring to "the confined conditions aboard the nuclear submarine." The navy had until 30 March 1998 to appeal the decision, and on 27 March Judge Sporkin ordered the military to return McVeigh to his former position. According to attorney Christopher Wolf, McVeigh had been put on "demeaning" jobs such as trash detail, and had been subjected to a $745-a-month reduction in pay. Judge Sporkin scheduled a compliance hearing for 1 June, and ruled that the navy would have to pay McVeigh's legal expenses. It is not likely that this will be the last federal case testing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
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