Democratic Senator and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth has lashed out at the Supreme Court over its decision to allow the Trump administration to temporarily enforce restrictions preventing transgender people from serving in the military.
Duckworth, who lost both of her legs in 2004 while serving in Iraq, called the Supreme Court’s decision “disheartening,” but said that it was not too late to show the Trump administration “that this sort of discrimination has no place in our military.”
“[The Supreme Court’s] decision is disheartening not only because it will help the Trump Administration discriminate against an ever-shrinking portion of our population who are willing to serve in uniform, but also because it enables the Administration to further disrupt to our military and weaken our national security,” Duckworth tweeted.
“I hope the court takes up this case and loudly and clearly tells the administration that this sort of discrimination has no place in our military, and I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Congress will send the same message and show our service members that we have their backs.
“When I was bleeding to death in my Black Hawk helicopter on that dusty field in Iraq, I didn’t care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender, black, white, male or female,” Duckworth said. “All that mattered was they didn’t leave me behind.”
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 to lift two injunctions blocking the Trump administration’s policy from being enforced. The court’s decision, which was opposed by the court’s liberal wing, left one nationwide injunction on Trump’s order intact, however, preventing the Pentagon from being able to completely implement the policy.
There are as many as 8,980 active duty transgender troops serving on behalf of the United States according to an analysis of Department of Defense data by the Palm Center, a public policy nonprofit.
Transgender troops have only been able to serve openly since June 2016, after former President Barack Obama lifted a previous ban on their service.
In July 2017, Trump announced he would reverse the policy in a tweet, writing that he would “not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.”
Duckworth ripped Trump’s policy in July 2017 on MSNBC, saying: “To have a president who never served but instead got, what, four, five deferments to avoid service in Vietnam, be a guy to question someone else’s patriotism because of their gender identity is sickening,” she said.
In 2018, Duckworth branded the president a “five-deferment draft dodger” over his claims that Democrats were holding the military “hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration.”