The Trump administration’s petition to the Supreme Court Friday to bypass the appellate courts and rule on the president’s policy of banning transgender people from serving in the armed forces has been described by one transgender service member as a “desperate and cowardly tactic.”
The leapfrog request filed on Friday to the Supreme Court has become a standard operating procedure for President Donald Trump’s administration, as it seeks to skirt the appellate courts entirely on various policy decisions aimed at unraveling Obama era accomplishments.
Typically, the Supreme Court does not review cases until at least one appeals court has weighed in. The Supreme Court rules stipulate the court will only intercede before an appeals court ruling “only upon a showing that the case is of such imperative public importance as to justify deviation from normal appellate practice and to require immediate determination in this court.”
“It’s a desperate and cowardly tactic. He wants to undermine our rights and erase the people he loathes, but he is clearly afraid of the full attention his toxic policies deserve,” Jack Schuler, a transgender man and former U.S. Marine signals intelligence linguist turned U.S. Army soldier, told Newsweek.
Representing both the president and Defense Secretary James Mattis, Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote in his petition that the Trump administration’s transgender ban, known as the Mattis policy, satisfies the Supreme Court’s standard for review. The solicitor general said the issue is of “imperative public importance: the authority of the U.S. military to determine who may serve in the Nation’s armed forces.”
Francisco argued that prompt action was needed because district courts erred in their decision to grant preliminary injunctions, which prevented the Mattis policy from taking effect.
It was a day of ironic contradictions: The Trump administration filed the petition on the same week as the Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual observance that honors the memory of those lost to anti-transgender violence, and just a day after Thanksgiving, when most Americans are out searching Black Friday deals and not the day’s headlines.
Schuler told Newsweek that the president’s political tactics are easy to spot. But the stark paradox on Friday centers on the White House request coming on the same day the president bashed a federal district court judge for striking down a version of Trump’s travel ban, prompting a rare rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts.
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