Trump Administration Attempts To Circumvent Appeals Courts On Proposed Trans Military Ban

The Trump administration has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and review its long-intended ban on military service by transgender Americans.

According to The Washington Post, Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco has filed a request on behalf of the Department of Justice asking SCOTUS to bypass traditional legal processes and rule on the challenges to the ban which have held the proposed policy to be unconstitutional.

In July of 2017, Donald Trump surprised many, including members of his own administration, with an abrupt announcement proposing the ban on transgender service members. The policy would discharge current trans troops and ban new enlistments.

At the time, Trump tweeted that he had consulted with his “Generals and military experts” before announcing the ban. But in March of this year, more than 20 retired generals and admirals signed on to a letter opposing such a ban.

“The administration’s announcement on the treatment of transgender service members is a troubling move backward,” the 26 officers wrote in their statement via the Palm Center, which researches issues of gender and sexuality.

“There is simply no reason to single out brave transgender Americans who can meet military standards and deny them the ability to serve.”

Additionally, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association both say claims by Secretary of Defense James Mattis indicating trans soldiers diagnosed with gender dysphoria cannot effectively serve in the military are false. 

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted an injunction that blocked implementation of the ban in October 2017. 

This past August, she rebuffed a request by the Trump administration to lift the injunction after some of the proposed language had been amended. 

Kollar-Kotelly was not convinced saying discharging trans soldiers and denying enlistment would most likely to be found discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Oral arguments are scheduled to be heard at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on December 10 regarding Kollar-Kotelly’s order that blocked the ban.

It’s highly unusual to approach the Supreme Court before exhausting the available appeals court processes.

“Trump’s lawyers fail to understand that the government is not entitled to play leapfrog whenever it loses in federal court,” says attorney Joshua Matz, who filed an amicus brief in the case. “If the department’s battery of ‘emergency’ petitions were granted, they would immediately overload the Supreme Court docket with politically fraught challenges to Trump administration policies.”

In addition to Kollar-Kotelly’s injunction, judges in three other states – California, Maryland and Washington – have also enjoined the bans implementation thanks to challenges filed in those states.

A poll by Quinnipiac University in August of 2017 showed 68% of Americans support trans military members being allowed to serve their country.

In related news, the Supreme Court is scheduled to consider whether to grant review to another case regarding protections for transgender Americans at the high court’s November 30 conference.

According to, the issue in question in that case concerns whether trans discrimination in the workplace constitutes discrimination based on sex, which is illegal under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Opponents say transgender status is not related to the issue of ‘sex.’

(h/t Washington Post, Bloomberg Law)

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