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A judge rejected Trump’s ‘new’ trans military ban in a historic ruling

Donald Trump LGBT flag
Photo: AP

A federal judge ruled that the trans military ban cannot be implemented and that transgender people are a “protected class.”

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman of the Western District of Washington in Karnoski v. Trump refused to lift the injunction against implementing the trans military ban, which means that while the court examines it, the Trump Administration cannot implement it.

In coming to that conclusion, Perchman wrote that there is a “long and well-recognized” history of discrimination against transgender people, and, as such, any attempt by the government to discriminate against transgender people must serve a “compelling government interest” and be narrowly tailored to achieve that goal.

“Transgender people have long been forced to live in silence, or to come out and face the threat of overwhelming discrimination,” Pechman wrote.

While the Trump Administration attempted to argue that its March 2018 memo “revoked” the 2017 trans military ban, Perchman wrote that it was just a set of more detailed guidelines about how to implement the same ban that Trump tweeted about last year.

Related: Mike Pence & a hate group leader are behind Trump’s new trans military ban

This is important because the Trump Administration had to prove that there was a real government interest in banning transgender people from the military, something that there obviously wasn’t because Trump didn’t even hold any hearings or read any research about trans people in the military before he tweeted the ban.

So his lawyers were trying to pass off the March 2018 memo – purportedly written by the Department of Defense – as something completely new since it came with a report and at least looked like the Trump Administration had tried to do some research into the matter.

She then noted that while Trump claimed to have consulted “generals and military experts” about the trans military ban last year, his lawyers couldn’t name a single general that he actually talked to. She also wrote that many of the people who should have been consulted about the ban were surprised by it when it was announced.

So Perchman wrote that the trans military ban was “devised by the President, and the President alone.”

She did not rule as to whether the trans military ban can survive strict scrutiny, since that’s a question of fact. But strict scrutiny is often called “strict in name, but fatal in practice” because it sets the bar so high for a law.

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