Appeals court order another setback for Trump transgender military ban

Courts continue to side with trans service members. CNN graphic.

Nearly a year ago, President Donald Trump issued a series of tweets that announced he was banning military service by transgender persons. His Twitter outburst, and the formal order to the Department of Defense enacting the ban, caused transgender service members to fear for their careers.

Several lawsuits were filed against the ban, with several orders barred the president from reversing the Obama era policy allowing military service by transgender persons.

For background, visit:
DC court bars Trump from reversing transgender troops policy
Judge in trans military ban case blasts Trump’s tweets
LGBT+ discrimination abounds in the Trump administration

The Trump administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) has vigorously fought the court decisions and bans on enforcing the ban, without much success.

One of those cases, Karnoski v. Trump, was filed by Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington state. The judge in the case issued a temporary restraining order that prevented the enforcement of the new policy.

The DOJ appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco. Yesterday (July 18) the court refused the government’s motion to lift the temporary restraining order. The court said that it would stay in place until Karnoski is heard, probably in April 2019.

The DOJ had argued that the injunction was preventing a return to the status quo, meaning a return to a bar on service by trans people. The court order said that in fact, granting the DOJ’s request would “upend, rather than preserve, the status quo.” The current status quo is that transgender people are allowed to serve in the military.

Lambda Legal’s reaction to this victory was swift. An online story on the organization’s website quoted Staff Sergeant Cathrine (Katie) Schmid, who said: ““Seven courts across the country have considered this so-called plan, and seven courts have recognized that there is no defensible reason to bar transgender Americans from serving our nation,” Staff Sergeant Cathrine (Katie) Schmid said.

“Being transgender has no impact on my ability to perform my duties. I’m grateful that the courts to date have recognized the value in our service, and I look forward to the day when we can put this argument behind us and focus on what's really important-- the accomplishment of our mission, and the welfare of our service members.”

Lambda Legal’s Senior Attorney Peter Renn, one of the attorney’s fighting the Trump ban, said, “The Ninth Circuit, much like the six other courts to have considered the proposed policy, has recognized it for what it is – blatant and impermissible discrimination.  The court rejected the government’s attempt to ‘upend’ the status quo, as well as the lives of transgender people serving and seeking to serve our country.

“It has been one year since President Trump announced via tweet his plan to bar transgender people from the military, and in that year four district courts and, now, three courts of appeal have blocked its implementation. What more evidence does the administration need before it abandons this discriminatory and harmful scheme to prevent brave and qualified transgender people from serving their country?”

”Every court ruling has been consistent and unequivocal: the ban on transgender military service is discrimination, no matter how it’s phrased and no matter the myriad ways the administration has tried to cloak its intent,” OutServe-SLDN Legal Director Peter Perkowski said.

“The administration has failed to come up with any adequate rationale for the president’s ill-conceived tweets of last July that justifies their blatant discriminatory nature, and we are confident it never will.”

Copyright The Gayly – July 19, 2018 @ 4:15 CDT.