A three-judge panel on a federal appeals court has denied President Trump’s last-minute request to block a lower court’s order requiring the military to begin allowing transgender recruits on January 1, setting up the case for a potential appeal to the Supreme Court.
Judges Diana Gribbon Motz, Albert Diaz and Pamela Harris on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Virginia issued a two-paragraph order denying the Justice Department’s emergency stay on a court order prohibiting a ban on transgender people serving in the military.
In July, Trump took to Twitter to declare that the U.S. government “will not accept or allow Transgender [sic] individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” He followed through with a memo to the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security in August.
Thursday’s ruling came in a case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of six current members of the Armed Forces who are transgender.
“Three courts have now held that President Trump’s attempt to ban transgender people from the military is blatantly unconstitutional, but the Pentagon continues to drag its heels and try to implement Trump’s discriminatory ban,” said Josh Block, an ACLU senior staff attorney.
“We are happy that the court saw through the government’s smokescreen and rejected its request to further delay the policy allowing transgender people to enlist,” he added.
“The military has already developed comprehensive guidance to prepare for a Jan. 1 start date, and the government failed to offer any credible reason why transgender people should be barred from enlisting if they can meet the same rigorous standards that apply to everyone else.”