The Obama administration pushed back on a federal appeals court ordering an immediate halt of the U.S. Department of Defenses don't ask, don't tell policy, asking for more time to lift the ban on openly gay soldiers.

A three judge panel on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled last week that the U.S. government could no longer justify a delay in overturning the policy, issuing an ultimatum demanding that the government justify its position. But on Thursday the Obama administration sought to buy more time by filing an emergency motion pointing to the slower orderly process laid out by Congress.

Congress made quite clear that it believed the terms of the transition were critical to the credibility and success of this historic policy change, and to ensure continued military effectiveness, according to a statement from the U.S. Justice Department.

Even after Congress voted to repeal don't ask, don't tell in December service members have still lost their jobs while the Pentagon has undergone a lengthy review process.