The U.S. Supreme Court recently granted a U.S. Department of Justice request to allow the Trump administration to move forward with its plan to prohibit transgender military service from occurring while policy challenges take place in the lower courts.
The earliest that the Supreme Court could act on the transgender military service issue would be during its next term in October 2019, according to NBC News.
President Donald J. Trump announced in a July 2017 tweet that he would end an Obama administration policy that allows individuals identifying as transgender to openly serve in the military and have the government pay for sex-reassignment surgery.
“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity,” Trump said in the tweet. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
Six months after Trump’s announcement via Twitter, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced a revised policy that would permit transgender men and woman to serve in the military so long as they served “in their biological sex” and did not pursue sex-reassignment surgery.
California, Washington, D.C. and Washington state federal district court judges issued court orders that blocked the policy across the country, citing that the policy amounted to unconstitutional discrimination and rejected the Trump administration’s claim that military readiness was an issue, NBC News reported.
“There is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effect on the military at all. In fact, there is considerable evidence that it is the discharge and banning of such individuals that would have such effects,” Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the court in Washington, D.C. wrote in her order.
Critics of the transgender military ban have asked the Supreme Court to leave the lower court orders as it currently stand, which prevents the proposed policy change to be enforced.