Published: Tue, November 27, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Trump takes transgender troops case to court

Trump takes transgender troops case to court

The Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court on Friday to bypass lower courts and rule quickly on its ban of most transgender military members.

Trump announced in July 2017 tweet that he was reversing an Obama administration policy allowing transgender men and women to serve openly and to receive funding for sex-reassignment surgery.

Earlier this month, the administration asked the high court to fast-track cases on Trump's decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca), which shields from deportation young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.

The current policy was based on recommendations made by Defense Secretary James Mattis, who said the Pentagon found that exempting transgender people from military standards could undermine its readiness for combat. Francisco urged the court to grant all three cases, hear them together and issue a decision by the end of the term.

But when President Donald Trump was elected, his administration reversed the policy and reinstated a ban on transgender troops.

"In my professional judgment, these policies will place the Department of Defense in the strongest position to protect the American people, to fight and win America's wars, and to ensure the survival and success of our Service members around the world", he added.

The memorandum said transgender individuals with a history of gender dysphoria are disqualified from military service "except under certain limited circumstances".

Trump's repeated attempts to implement his transgender military ban have been widely condemned, with critics describing the move as inherently discriminatory.

Challengers have cited Trump's statements to argue that the directive is the result of discrimination, rather than a study of how allowing transgender personnel affects the military.

"There is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effective on the military at all", Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the US District Court in Washington wrote a year ago.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is set to hear an appeal of her ruling next month. The supreme court for now has refused to block the climate change trial. "The administration ought to be thanking them for their service - not trying to score political points by purging them from our military".

"It seems the Trump administration can't wait to discriminate", said Peter Renn of Lambda Legal. "There is no valid reason to jump the line now and seek US Supreme Court review before the appellate courts have even ruled on the preliminary issues before them". At an especially sensitive moment for the Supreme Court, the Trump administration is "forcing it into a minefield that many justices would nearly surely prefer to avoid", Matz said. It's unclear when it will act on the administration's other requests.

"Trump's lawyers fail to understand that the government is not entitled to play leapfrog whenever it loses in federal court".

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