A Ninth Circuit panel today vacated, on grounds of mootness, the (badly flawed) judgment of the district court (in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States) striking down the now-repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law. (The panel consisted of appointees of President Carter, President Reagan, and President Clinton.) The panel saw fit to add:
Because Log Cabin has stated its intention to use the district court’s judgment collaterally [i.e., in other proceedings], we will be clear: It may not. Nor may its members or anyone else. We vacate the district court’s judgment, injunction, opinions, orders, and factual findings—indeed, all of its past rulings—to clear the path completely for any future litigation. Those now-void legal rulings and factual findings have no precedential, preclusive, or binding effect.
Is there anyone still not clear on that?
In a powerful concurrence, Judge O’Scannlain explained why he “would have been obliged to vote to reverse” the ruling below if the panel had been able to reach the merits.