Today, the Supreme Court issued an order that will allow President Trump’s ban on trans military members go into effect immediately. The Supreme Court did not hear arguments on the underlying ban or make a ruling on the actual merits of the underlying court case. Instead, this decision allows the ban to go into effect while the underlying cases surrounding its constitutionality are litigated in lower courts.
This policy was originally announced on Twitter by President Trump in July 2017. Officials then scrambled to enshrine the tweet into official policy. The official policy was released by then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis. The policy prohibits those diagnosed with “gender dysphoria” from serving the military with very limited exceptions. Additionally, it requires that recruits may only serve under the sex they were assigned at birth. Today’s ruling will undoubtedly be considered a victory for the Trump administration, which is currently beleaguered because of the ongoing government shutdown.
The ruling will allow the ban’s immediate implementation while lower court cases continue to determine the constitutionality of the ban. This means that the Trump administration can immediately start preventing trans recruits from joining the military, and may even discharge trans military members while the lower court cases continue. This leaves the fate of approximately 8,980 trans service members in question.
In the ruling, the four more liberal justices disagreed with allowing the ban to go into effect pending a final ruling on the merits of the case. Attorney Jennifer Levi, director of GLAAD’s transgender rights project, told The Washington Post that the decision is “based on the absurd idea that forcing transgender people to suppress who they are in order to serve is not a ban. It ignores the reality of transgender people’s lives, with devastating consequences, and rests on a complete failure to understand who transgender people are.”
We are thinking of our trans brothers and sisters today in the wake of this news. We stand with you in solidarity. #translivesmatter