Second court trashes Trump’s transgender ban

President Donald Trump. Evan Vucci, AP.

President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender military service is not faring well in the courts. On Tuesday, District Judge Marvin J. Garbis, in Baltimore, blocked enforcement of the ban. His opinion joins an earlier one from the District of Columbia District Court, which also blocked the enforcement of the ban.

And a third judge, in Washington State, announce in Seattle that she will decide by December 8 whether to join the D.C. and Baltimore courts in blocking the ban.

“U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman heard oral arguments between lawyers for the Justice Department and transgender rights advocates, including Lambda Legal, on Tuesday — just hours after the Baltimore judge's ruling,” reported the Associated Press.

The preliminary injunction stops the president from kicking out transgender people currently serving in the military, from barring the enlistment of transgender individuals, and from prohibiting transition-related surgery for service members, according to the ACLU.

For more on the court challenges to Trump’s transgender ban, visit:
Judge in trans military ban case blasts Trump’s tweets
DC court bars Trump from reversing transgender troops policy
Motions fly in lawsuits challenging transgender military ban
DoD panel of experts to discuss transgender military members.

Judge Garbis was harsh in his assessment of the government’s defense of the ban. In his decision, he cited the history of the change in the military’s transgender policy and its “outdated, confusing, inconsistent” prohibition of transgender military service.

“In June 2015, then-Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter issued a statement characterizing the regulations that were in effect at that time relating to transgender individuals serving in the military as ‘an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that’s contrary to our value of service and individual merit causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions.’”

The Obama administration studied the matter for a year before overturning the prohibition on trans service members.

He pushed aside Justice Department lawyer’s allegations that the president’s order to DoD, didn’t ban transgender members, but called instead for a study. He said, “The Court cannot interpret the plain text of the President’s Memorandum as being a request for a study to determine whether or not the directives should be implemented. Rather, it orders the directives to be implemented by specified dates.”


Considering the juxtaposition of careful study by the Obama military against Trump’s tweets, the judge wrote: “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. Based on the circumstances surrounding the President’s announcement and the departure from normal procedure, the Court agrees with the D.C. Court that there is sufficient support for Plaintiffs’ claims that ‘the decision to exclude transgender individuals was not driven by genuine concerns regarding military efficacy.’

“A capricious, arbitrary, and unqualified tweet of new policy does not trump the methodical and systematic review by military stakeholders qualified to understand the ramifications of policy changes.”

“Today is a victory for transgender service members across the country,” said Joshua Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project. “We’re pleased that the courts have stepped in to ensure that trans service members are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

The ACLU’s lawsuit was filed on behalf of the ACLU of Maryland and six current members of the armed forces who are transgender: Petty Officer First Class Brock Stone, Senior Airman John Doe, Airman First Class Seven Ero George, Petty Officer First Class Teagan Gilbert, Staff Sergeant Kate Cole, and Technical Sergeant Tommie Parker.

The Department of Justice has appealed the D.C. order, and indicated that they will appeal Judge Garbis’ order as well.

To read the entire order from Judge Garbis, click here.

Copyright The Gayly – November 22, 2017 @ 12 p.m. CST.