The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order yesterday saying that the Department of Defense must remain on schedule and start recruiting transgender people in January.
This is another setback for the Trump Administration, which asked the appeals court for an administrative stay after a trial court judge ruled that the trans military ban was unconstitutional.
The Trump Administration is defending the trans military ban in three federal cases – one in D.C., one in Washington state, and one in Maryland. All three trial courts have ruled against Trump.
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Yesterday’s order stemmed from the Maryland case, where United States District Judge Marvin Garbis cited Trump’s tweets in his ruling.
“President Trump’s tweets did not emerge from a policy review, nor did the Presidential Memorandum identify any policymaking process or evidence demonstrating that the revocation of transgender rights was necessary for any legitimate national interest,” Garbis wrote.
He went on to write that the transgender plaintiffs in the case “are already suffering harmful consequences such as the cancellation and postponements of surgeries, the stigma of being set apart as inherently unfit, facing the prospect of discharge and inability to commission as an officer, the inability to move forward with long-term medical plans, and the threat to their prospects of obtaining long-term assignments.”
In 2016, the Obama Administration ended the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military, giving transgender people already in the military protection from being fired for their gender identity. Obama also gave the Pentagon a year to come up with a plan for recruiting transgender people, which was supposed to happen in July of this year but the military asked for a delay until January, 2018.
With two weeks left until January, the Trump Administration can only hope that one of the appeals courts from the other two cases will issue an administrative stay and delay the recruitment of transgender people. In that case, the Supreme Court will have to settle the disagreement between rulings from circuit courts.
Once open recruitment begins, the Trump Administration will find that making the case to ban transgender people will be even harder than it is now.