Trump's government seeks quick ruling on transgender troops case
27 November, 2018, 07:17 | Author: Lucy Floyd
The Pentagon changed its policy regarding transgender people in 2016, under then-President Barack Obama, allowing them serve openly in the military.
Solicitor General Noel Francisco said the administration carefully thought out its policy and has decided that limits on transgender troops are in the best interests of national security and the courts should defer to that judgment.
The supreme court nearly always waits to get involved in a case until both a trial and appeals court have ruled.
People with gender dysphoria experience distress or discomfort as a result of a disparity between a their biological sex (assigned at birth) and what they feel their gender to be.
Transgender individuals had never been able to serve in the USA military, but Barack Obama attempted to change that policy shortly during his final term, and President Trump inherited that attempted policy change shortly after taking office. On July 26, 2017, Trump announced the us military would not allow transgender individuals to serve.
The four injunctions, however - from district courts in Washington, DC, Baltimore, Seattle, and Riverside, California, with several of those injunctions upheld by appeals courts - have found that the transgender plaintiffs are likely to ultimately succeed in their claims and have ordered trials, which are now in the discovery phase. Lawyers for the Justice Department filed petitions on Friday in three separate cases in regard to the ban on transgender military service members.
"The military has been forced to maintain [its] prior policy for almost a year", Francisco lamented, noting that "absent this Court's prompt intervention, it is unlikely that the military will be able to implement its new policy any time soon".
Francisco asked the nine justices on Friday to circumvent that process, saying the administration can't afford to wait for lower courts to decide, the Washington Post reported Friday.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has heard arguments on the merits of the case, but has not yet issued an opinion. The government was already appealing a discovery order Seattle District Judge Marsha Pechman, which sought information on how the dictates of Trump's original 2017 tweet, where he vaguely alluded to having consulted "my generals and military experts", became formalized by a task force headed by Defense Secretary James Mattis.
Trump took Mattis's recommendations into account and adopted a policy in March which reversed an Obama administration directive allowing soldiers to switch their "gender marker" in their personnel records if they declared themselves as identifying as a member of the opposite sex.
Normally, the Supreme Court waits to take action until regional appeals courts have ruled.
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