Surprising no one, the Supreme Court left intact (without comment) the ban on open service in our military by gays and lesbians while the Appeals Court determines its constitutionality.

The Supreme Court, without noting any dissent, agreed on Friday to leave the military’s “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy in full effect while its constitutionality is under review in a lower court. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy referred the issue to the full Court. Justice Elena Kagan took no part in the order.

As a result of the order, the policy will remain in effect at least through mid-March, unless Congress in the meantime voted to repeal it legislatively — an unlikely prospect, according to most observers. The Ninth Circuit Court is reviewing a federal judge’s decision to strike down the policy and to impose a worldwide ban on its enforcement. The Circuit Court’s briefing schedule, however, will not be completed until late February or early March, and a hearing and decision would come after that.

There will be no suspension of the DADT policy during the appeal:

The request by Log Cabin was always considered a long shot, but the group’s lawyers had hoped to convince the court to suspend enforcement of the policy while the appeals process plays out. Government lawyers are presently appealing a September decision that found the law unconstitutional to the ninth circuit court of appeals.

Log Cabin made two entreaties to the Supreme Court — the initial request last week and another on Friday morning responding to the government’s request earlier this week that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy be kept in place pending appeal.

Of course, Barack Obama has a secret plan (which appears not to involve contacting the GOP Senators he’s asked the Log Cabin Republicans to lobby) but he appears still unwilling to tip his hand about his plan for the Lame-Duck Senate to enact the watered-down ‘repeal’ passed by the House before the mid-terms. George W Bush’s Secretary of Defense, still serving atop the Pentagon, also favors a ‘legislative solution’ because it’ll give him more ‘flexibility’ in implementation of a repeal.

So there’s that.