In a federal court in Washington DC, a judge blocked part of President Trump’s attempt at removing transgender folks from serving in the military Monday, essentially stopping the Pentagon from overturning Obama-era protections for trans service people.
The court was actually hearing a discrimination case brought forth by a number of transgender military service personnel. The case, which was launched back in August, argued that the president’s decision was made unilaterally and, “without any meaningful deliberative process and was directly contrary to the considered judgment of the military.”
US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly noted that in part, the president’s announcement via tweet was problematic and that the president’s reasoning did not, “appear to be supported by any facts.” Kollar-Kotelly also noted that the Armed Forces had also rejected the President’s initial request, leaving no doubt that she should block the attempt.
The president’s tweets back in July would have reversed an Obama-era protection that guaranteed that trans military personnel could serve openly. While the mandate was still under final review, Trump’s team argued that it was unjust and would be too costly to taxpayers, citing the cost of gender reassignment surgery being “too high” for the government to pay for, as well as his argument that trans personnel created a hostile environment (both of these arguments have been thoroughly rebuffed by experts in the field).
Kollar-Kotelly upheld the plaintiff’s argument, saying that they, “have established that they will be injured by these directives, due both to the inherent inequality they impose, and the risk of discharge and denial of accession that they engender.”
USA Today notes that trans rights advocates are applauding the court’s decision, with Sarah Warbelow, the Human Rights Campaign’s legal director, saying in a statement, “The immediate harm to our national defense and to the thousands of transgender people serving and wishing to serve their country must be stopped — and we are grateful that a federal judge has blocked this administration from discharging any qualified individuals because of their gender identity while these cases continue to make their way through the courts.”
With Kollar-Kotelly blocking the government from ejecting current serving trans people, as well as ensuring that new recruits can openly serve, CNN reports that the administration’s legal team tried to have the case dismissed on the grounds that it was too early in the rollout of the policy, which still has not been reviewed at any level of government.
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(Photo via Spencer Platt/Getty)