By Robert Barnes
Nov 23, 2018
The Trump administration on Friday once again asked the Supreme Court to bypass the usual legal process to take on another controversial issue — President Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from military service.
Solicitor Gen. Noel Francisco asked the justices to consolidate the challenges to the ban — which so far have been successful in lower courts — and rule on the issue in its current term.
The challenges are to the administration’s order that would prohibit transgender men and women from enlisting, possibly subject current service members to discharge and deny certain medical care. The order reverses an Obama administration policy allowing transgender men and women to serve openly and to receive funding for sex-reassignment surgery.
Federal judges so far have prohibited the Trump order from being implemented.
“The decisions imposing those injunctions are wrong, and they warrant this Court’s immediate review,” Francisco wrote.
Trump in July 2017 surprised military leaders and members of Congress when he abruptly announced the proposed ban in several tweets. Trump said he was “doing the military a great favor” by “coming out and just saying it.”
Challengers have used such statements to argue that the directive is the result of discrimination rather than a study of how allowing transgender personnel affects the military, and lower court judges largely have agreed.
“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,” U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote in a case filed in the District of Columbia.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is scheduled to hear an appeal of the ruling next month.