Supreme Court votes in favor of Trump’s military transgender ban

Two lower court injunctions previously blocked Trump's policy, but in a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court's decision allows the Pentagon to enforce the policy.

Image Credit: Campbell Law Observer/DADT

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court voted to reinstate President Trump’s order to ban transgender persons from enlisting and serving in the military. Two lower court injunctions previously blocked Trump’s policy, but in a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court’s decision allows the Pentagon to enforce the policy.

The two cases before the Supreme Court included Trump v. Karnoski and Trump v. Stockman, in which Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan voted against the Trump administration’s policy, Tuesday’s Supreme Court order stated.

This is the first time the transgender ban was revived since a federal court in Washington, D.C. blocked it in October 2017 when U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that the transgender policy would present “a strong case that the president’s ban would violate their Fifth Amendment rights.”

According to a NPR report, Trump’s policy labels “transgender persons who have a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria and who may require ‘substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery’ are, with some exceptions, disqualified from military service.”

These exceptions include:

1. The more than 900 active-duty members of the military who a Pentagon report says were diagnosed with gender dysphoria after June 30, 2016. On that date former Defense Secretary Ash Carter lifted a prior ban on transgender persons serving in the military. This group will be allowed to receive required medical treatment to transition and to serve in their preferred gender, as long as they are not deemed nondeployable for more than 12 months.

2. Those who have been “stable for 36 consecutive months in their biological sex” before entering the military.

3. Those who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria after beginning their military service but “do not require a change of gender.”

4. Those whom the Pentagon calls “transgender persons without a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria” and who serve “in their biological sex.”

A statement from General Mattis outlines “transgender persons who require or have undergone gender transition” as disqualified from serving in the military.

The Human Rights Campaign said the Supreme Court’s decision unconstitutional, by calling it an attempt to “thrusts this administration’s discriminatory agenda onto a military that clearly doesn’t want it, and does so at the expense of transgender people’s careers and service.”

The Pentagon announced on Wednesday that because of a fourth national injunction from a case in Maryland U.S. District Court still in effect, the Department of Justice is unable to implement the transgender policy until that is lifted.


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