SCOTUS Rules Trump Anti-Transgender Military Policy Can Take Effect Immediately
The U.S. Supreme Court has handed down orders that allow Donald Trump’s ban of transgender military service members to go into effect immediately while appeals work their way through the lower courts, according to The New York Times.
The high court issued a brief, unsigned order this morning saying SCOTUS had lifted the injunctions that, until now, blocked the anti-trans policy.
The vote was 5-4 with Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagen dissenting.
This morning’s orders stay the injunctions initially issued by Federal District Court judges in Washington State (Trump v. Karnoski) and California (Trump v Stockman), both in the Ninth Circuit.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit had previously vacated a third injunction on January 4.
For the time being, current trans soldiers will not be booted out immediately.
The policy, as tweaked by former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, allows transgender service members who are already serving openly to continue to do so and to receive transition-related care.
SCOTUS 5-4 grants Trump Administration request to permit Administration’s transgender military service ban to take effect, while appeals are heard in lower courts.
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) January 22, 2019
In July of 2017, President Trump surprised American military leaders and the world when he announced his plan to ban trans military service members after “consultation with my Generals and military experts” due to the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” of transgender service members.
At the time of Trump's announcement, Staff Sgt. Logan Ireland (pictured above) told Air Force News, “I would like to see them try to kick me out of my military.”
“You are not going to deny me my right to serve my country when I am fully qualified and able and willing to give my life," he added.
The American Medical Association (AMA) issued a statement saying there is ‘no medically valid reason’ for banning transgender people from serving in the United States military, but all four service chiefs (Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force) have testified they’ve seen no negative effects from transgender military personnel serving the country they love.
According to a 2016 RAND Corporation study, there are an estimated 1,320 to 6,630 transgender individuals out of the 1.3 million service members on active duty.
From The New York Times:
The policy, announced on Twitter by President Trump and refined by the defense secretary at the time, Jim Mattis, generally prohibits people identifying with a gender different from their biological sex from military service. It makes exceptions for several hundred transgender people already serving openly and for those willing to serve “in their biological sex.”
Lambda Legal, which along with OutServe-SLDN, filed the lawsuit Trump v. Karnoski, issued this statement:
“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 of history where it belongs.”