Published: Tue, November 27, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Trump asks for transgender military ban from Supreme Court in rare move

Trump asks for transgender military ban from Supreme Court in rare move

Trump announced in March that he would endorse a plan by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to restrict the military service of transgender people who experience a condition called gender dysphoria.

Like the ban on transgender service in the military, that policy has been blocked by federal trial judges.

In the military case, the administration argued that the Supreme Court should step in before an appeals court rules because the case "involves an issue of imperative public importance: the authority of the USA military to determine who may serve in the Nation's armed forces". Diagnosed based on an individual's discomfort with their gendered appearance and identity as assigned at birth, that standard served for decades as the definitive metric of whether or not a person was permitted to receive transition resources like hormones and surgeries. He said that the army cannot be inhibited by the enormous medical costs and the disruption that transgender people in the military would bring with them.

The petitions ask for the top court to consolidate the cases for decision and consider the dispute during its current term, which ends in June or July 2019.


Federal district courts have entered injunctions against the new policy, but no appeals court has yet ruled on it. Despite repeated attempts from federal courts to block it, the de facto ban is still keeping most trans troops out of service with bureaucratic red tape and increasingly obscure medical records requests.

The Trump administration has asked for the High Court to exercise that rule a couple times, most recently in the legal challenges to the DACA amnesty program for illegal aliens.

Joshua Matz, publisher of the liberal Take Care blog, said the timing of the move could hardly be worse for chief justice John Roberts and other justices who have sought, under attack from Donald Trump, to dispel the notion the court is a political institution, especially since the politically fraught confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh.

In urging the Supreme Court to take the case now, the Justice Department said allowing the Obama transgender military service policy to continue would undermine military readiness and unit cohesion. "In fact, there is considerable evidence that it is the discharge and banning of such individuals that would have such effects".


In a court filing on November 23, Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued, "The military has been forced to maintain that prior policy for almost a year..."

While the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has heard arguments but not yet issued an opinion; the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit is scheduled to hear an appeal of the ruling in December, the Post noted.

Added Lambda Legal Counsel Peter Renn: "Yet again, the Trump administration flouts established norms and procedures".

The Supreme Court nearly always waits to get involved in a case until both a trial and appeals court have ruled in it.


However, the subject matter seems to be without precedent, meaning it's ripe for a Supreme Court review.

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