Trump Asks Supreme Court to Let Trans Military Ban Take Effect

27 November, 2018, 07:15 | Author: Rachel Logan
  • Trump takes transgender troops case to court

The Donald Trump government wants the Supreme Court to rule on its decision to ban transgender people from the US Army.

The Obama administration made a decision to allow transgender individuals to serve in uniform, sparking a debate among military policy experts, though the new policy stance was not set to take effect until July 2017, six months after the end of Obama's tenure in office.

The policy, first announced by the President in July 2017 via Twitter and later officially released by Secretary of Defense James Mattis, blocks individuals who suffer from a condition known as gender dysphoria from serving with limited exceptions.

It defined such individuals as "those who may require substantial medical treatment, including through medical drugs or surgery". On July 26, 2017, Trump announced the USA military would not allow transgender individuals to serve. Trump's recent salvo against the "Obama judge" who ruled against his asylum policy - not an issue now before the supreme court - prompted Roberts to fire back at the president for the first time, for feeding perceptions of a biased judiciary.

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 us military to determine who may serve in the Nation's armed forces".

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has heard arguments on the merits of the case, but has not yet issued an opinion.

In the immigration case, the administration told the high court it should decide the fate of Daca ahead of an appeals ruling because the policy otherwise could be in place until the middle of 2020.

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On Friday, Solicitor General Noel Francisco filed petitions asking the justices to take up the issue in three separate cases that are still in lower courts so it could be decided definitively this term.

In the court filing requesting the Supreme Court's review, the Justice Department said Gen. Mattis and other military leaders determined that the Obama policy "posed too great a risk to military effectiveness and lethality". The administration asked the court on November 23, 2018, to take up three cases on the issue.

Given the careful study of transgender military service by the Obama administration under Carter, the plaintiffs are seeking the basis for the military now arguing their presence in the service would cause problems.

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

This is the fourth time in recent months that the Trump administration has tried to bypass the normal courts process. Individuals without a history of gender dysphoria would be required to serve under their biological sex.

Pete Williams is an NBC News correspondent who covers the Justice Department and the Supreme Court, based in Washington.

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

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