Supreme Court rules in favor of transgender military ban

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Military Troops photo courtesy of Palm Center
Military Troops photo courtesy of Palm Center

Presidents plan prevents transgender troops from serving

The Supreme Court granted the Department of Justice the right to begin discharging openly transgender troops from active service and denying transgender recruits the right to serve. The Court also denied petitions from the Department of Justice asking the Court to review preliminary federal district court rulings that have kept Donald Trump’s Tweeted plan to prevent transgender troops from serving openly.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court granted the DOJ’s request. The preliminary rulings include one out of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in the lawsuit brought by Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN challenged the constitutionality of the proposed ban.

“For the past two-and-a-half years, thousands of qualified, transgender individuals have made our nation’s armed forces better, in every measurable quality, with their authentic service,” OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Andy Blevins said. “The Court’s decision to allow the Trump-Pence Administration to institute their wanting and discriminatory practices while the litigation proceeds is disappointing — our siblings-in-arms deserve better. We look forward to continuing our representation of these proud and selfless patriots, and reminding this Administration that military policy cannot be defined by baseless and discriminatory rationalizations.”

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Lower courts had put injunctions in place, keeping the discriminatory Trump plan– announced via Twitter in July 2017 from going into place. Solicitor General Noel Francisco filed petitions late last year asking the Supreme Court justices to hear three cases that are still in the lower courts. Francisco argued that the delays in the lower courts are wrong, and the cases should be reviewed immediately. Of the injunctions, he wrote, “the military has been forced to maintain that prior policy for nearly a year” despite a determination by Mattis and a panel of experts that the “prior policy, adopted by (Defense Secretary Ash Carter), posed too great a risk to military effectiveness and lethality.”

“The Supreme Court’s decisions today are perplexing to say the least: on the one hand denying the Trump administration’s premature request for review of lower court rulings before appellate courts have ruled and rebuffing the administration’s attempt to skirt established rules; and yet on the other allowing the administration to begin to discriminate, at least for now, as the litigation plays out,” Lambda Legal Counsel Peter Renn said. “For more than 30 months, transgender troops have been serving our country openly with valor and distinction, but now the rug has been ripped out from under them, once again. We will redouble our efforts to send this discriminatory ban to the trash heap where it belongs.”

LambdaLegal.org.