Federal Judge Rejects Trump Request to Delay Enlistment of Trans Troops

Transgender People Can Enlist In The Military Beginning Jan. 1 2018 As Planned Spencer Platt  Getty Images News  Getty Images

A federal judge in Washington, D.C. on Monday blocked President Donald Trump's ban on transgender individuals serving in the military, after five transgender service members filed a lawsuit against the President's orders.

In October, the D.C. -based Judge Collen Kollar-Kotelly issued an injunction that would force Trump to allow transgender individuals to enlist openly beginning January 1.

Kollar-Kotelly ruled back in October that the ban must be halted while it works its way through the courts, and reverted back to Obama era policy allowing trans soldiers to serve openly in the meantime. Her original ruling, she wrote, was to return the policy on military service by transgender Americans to what it was when the Obama administration lifted the ban June 30, 2016, with the one modification by Mattis that delayed enlistment of new trans troops until January 1, 2018.

In her response, Kollar-Kotelly explained that her ruling meant to reset the military policy on transgender service members to the "status quo" before Trump's ban. In that memo, Mattis set the new enlistment deadline to January 1, 2018.

"A$3 ny action by any of the defendants that changes this status quo is preliminarily enjoined", Kollar-Kotelly wrote.

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In August, the judge released a lengthy memo accompanying her ruling in which she said the plaintiffs in the case, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, are likely to succeed by arguing that the president's transgender ban violates their Fifth Amendment right to due process.

Transgender service members are anxious that their new commander-in-chief is attempting to reverse the policy and transgender people may not be able to serve in "any capacity".

Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said the clarification confirms "transgender people must be permitted to enlist on January 1, 2018, as previously scheduled". In a parallel lawsuit, Maryland-based federal Judge Marvin Garbis last week temporarily blocked Trump's directive and called his tweets about the policy change "shocking" as well as "capricious, arbitrary and unqualified".

Now, Kollar-Kotelly's clarification removes the last aspect of the Guidance Policy For Open Transgender Service Phase Out, issued by Trump's Defense Department on August 25, that was still in effect. He said the department would use the time to further study the issue.

The Trump trans military ban issued via Twitter in July 2017 was always based on flimsy reasoning: The U.S. President consulted no now serving military officials about it and lied about the military not being able to absorb the cost of trans healthcare (even though the military spends five times more money on Viagra).

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