Trump trans troops move pulls supreme court further into political mire

27 November, 2018, 07:13 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Transgender U.S. army captain Jennifer Sims lifts her uniform

The Supreme Court rarely allows such a move to leapfrog over the usual appeals process, but Solicitor General Noel Francisco said the Obama administration's policy of allowing transgender service poses a threat to military readiness and imposes "an unreasonable burden on the military that is not conducive to military readiness and lethality".

The solicitor general reiterated past claims from the Trump administration on the matter, contending the ban would bolster the U.S. military's effectiveness and preparedness.

"It involves", he wrote, "an issue of imperative public importance: the authority of the U.S. military to determine who may serve in the nation's armed forces". He's declared that gender is only defined as the sex a person was assigned at birth and has since ended protections for transgender workers and prisoners.

Defense Secretary James Mattis carried out a study within the Pentagon which recommended that transgender individuals could serve in the military, so long as those individuals did not present a medical history of gender dysphoria requiring medical treatment- such as gender reassignment surgery- that would affect their ability to serve. He said that the army cannot be inhibited by the enormous medical costs and the disruption that transgender people in the military would bring with them. Historically, district courts would render relief only for the parties in the case before them, or at minimum would often stay broad decisions while the government takes the case up on appeal. The request, if granted, would mean not waiting for decisions from federal appeals courts now considering the issue.

The Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court on Friday to promptly allow it to ban transgender people from serving in the United States armed forces in an unusual move that bypasses the regular federal legal process.

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"The military has been forced to maintain [its] prior policy for almost a year", Francisco wrote. Trump's recent salvo against the "Obama judge" who ruled against his asylum policy - not one of the issues now before the Supreme Court - prompted Chief Justice John Roberts to fire back at the president for the first time for feeding perceptions of a biased judiciary. "In fact, there is considerable evidence that it is the discharge and banning of such individuals that would have such effects".

On Friday, the Trump administration filed petitions to the Supreme Court asking for its "immediate review" of the constitutional challenges to the ban. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in one challenge earlier this fall and the DC Circuit will hear arguments in early December.

DOJ appealed all three of those decisions. The Supreme Court denied that request.

"Today, the US Department of Justice announced its intent to short-circuit established practice, asking the US Supreme Court to review a preliminary district court ruling before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has even had an opportunity to rule", said Mr Peter Renn, a lawyer with Lambda Legal, which represents the challengers in one of the cases Mr Francisco asked the Supreme Court to consider.

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