Supreme Court Temporarily Reinstates Transgender Military Ban

Demonstrators gather to protest President Donald Trump’s plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals from serving in any capacity in the military, at the White House in Washington, D.C., July 26, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily reinstated the Trump administration’s partial ban on transgender individuals’ serving in the military.

While declining to consider the legality of the policy, the Court granted the administration’s request to halt district-court injunctions against the policy’s enforcement until the Ninth Circuit could rule on it.

Federal trial judges in California, Washington, D.C., and Washington state have ruled against the ban after plaintiffs argued that it violates the the Constitution’s First Amendment and equal-protection and due-process clauses.

The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to intervene because the lower courts’ decisions “require the military to maintain a policy that, in its own professional judgment, risks undermining readiness, disrupting unit cohesion, and weakening military effectiveness and lethality.”

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan dissented from the majority.

In July, 2017, President Trump announced that transgender individuals would no longer be allowed in the military, writing on Twitter, “the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”

Former defense secretary James Mattis later disqualified those who have transitioned or plan to transition and those with a history of gender dysphoria from serving in the military, but allowed an exemption for active-duty transgender personnel already serving and those who agree to serve as their birth sex.

“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,” read a Tuesday statement from Lambda Legal counsel Peter Renn, who represents the three organizations and nine individuals listed as plaintiffs in the case. “We will redouble our efforts to send this discriminatory ban to the trash heap of history where it belongs.”

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