The Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court worked out in President Donald Trump’s favor this week when the body allowed his administration’s ban on transgender military service members to be implemented — but the Democratic opposition isn’t just going to shut up. As she continues to fight with the White House to get the federal government reopened, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) denounced both the original ban and the Supreme Court allowing its implementation this week.
As she put it:
‘Donald Trump’s ban on trans Americans serving in our nation’s military was purpose-built to humiliate brave men & women seeking to serve their country. Deeply concerning that
#SCOTUS is allowing his ban to proceed for now.’
.@realDonaldTrump’s ban on trans Americans serving in our nation’s military was purpose-built to humiliate brave men & women seeking to serve their country. Deeply concerning that #SCOTUS is allowing his ban to proceed for now. #ProtectTransTroops https://t.co/PgtEJJVHvX
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 22, 2019
The Supreme Court has not heard arguments in any of the lawsuits brought against the ban, but instead simply handed down an order this week allowing its implementation while those lawsuits proceed through lower courts.
It’s at least the second time the court has upheld a contentious major Trump policy proposal — under his watch and with one of his picks on the bench, they allowed his ban on travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries to be implemented, although it’s worth noting again that none of the targeted countries had actually produced any terrorists who’ve attacked the United States. The nations where such individuals actually came from weren’t targeted — further driving home the point that the ban was about suspicion of a particular skin color as much as any tangible threat.
Trump’s carried out a similar step yet again in the implementation of the ban on transgender service members. He has claimed that such individuals would pose a monumental burden to the U.S. Armed Forces — although down in reality, there are an estimated under 10,000 known transgender individuals even serving in the military, which spends more on Viagra than they could be reasonably expected to spend covering those people’s particular medical needs.
Trump first announced the intent to enact the ban via Twitter, and months later, it emerged in a formal policy from the Department of Defense. The administration’s effort faced nearly immediate legal challenges, however, and those concerned for LGBT rights won early victories when multiple judges ruled against the proposal and the Trump administration was pushed to begin accepting transgender recruits in 2018.
The road since that point has not been as smooth as many would want, however. Just this month, a D.C. appeals court ruled that the final version of the administration’s ban is not inappropriately discriminatory because it did not completely ban transgender people from serving in the military. However, the order does force current and future soldiers to serve as their birth sex — meaning they would essentially be forced into the closet. It’s like a return to the policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” over gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals in the military, which ended over seven years ago at this point under the Obama administration.
The Obama administration had also sought to end a longstanding ban on transgender people serving openly in the military – but the date when their move would become effective was under Trump. There is no documented reason disqualifying transgender people from serving openly, so the Trump team’s push otherwise might as well be perceived as just to spite Obama’s legacy.
Check out Twitter’s response to Pelosi…
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