The Republican majority that President Donald Trump has enacted on the U.S. Supreme Court worked out in his administration’s favor this week. In one of the first high profile, controversial cases of the current judicial session, the body allowed the president’s ban on transgender military service members to be enforced while lawsuits make their way through the court system.
That ban had previously been announced way back in 2017, when the president abruptly claimed on Twitter that caring for transgender-specific medical needs would exact a heavy toll on the U.S. Armed Forces. In reality, they easily spend more on Viagra than on anything related to transgender identity.
Multiple lower court judges had ruled against the ban before appeals made it to the Supreme Court, and the Trump administration had been ordered to accept transgender people into the military as of January 1 of last year. The Supreme Court did not issue a formal final ruling on the case, refusing to hear arguments and only lifting that and related orders while other lawsuits proceed.
It’s a similar procedure to the one they undertook when recently faced with a case brought by a not publicly identified foreign government-owned company seeking to avoid complying with an apparent subpoena from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office. They temporarily paused the contempt citation that company was facing — but did not hear arguments and eventually allowed the contempt citation to remain in place.
In that case, no justices dissented, but in the present one related to lawsuits over the transgender service member ban, all four liberal justices did so. Chief Justice John Roberts has occasionally sided with the left on important, high profile issues, but not this time.
The court’s move effects as many as 8,980 currently serving members of the Armed Forces, if not more. The Trump administration policy prohibits individuals diagnosed with gender dysphoria from serving and those without it from serving unless they do according to their birth sex.
During previous months when the Armed Services were supposed to be accepting new transgender recruits — they haven’t been. Numerous well equipped potential transgender service members have had their enlistment slowed down by months to the point of some advocates questioning “whether the delays are evidence of a concerted effort to keep transgender recruits out, despite the court rulings,” The New York Times shared. Of the 140 members of transgender service members’ organization Sparta who were trying to enlist in the early months of 2018, only two had been accepted as of July.
As that tumult raged on, the Trump administration scored a legal victory before the new Supreme Court order when a D.C. appeals court ruled that their ban should not be considered discriminatory because it doesn’t flatly ban all transgender people from serving in the military — although they have to do so in the closet.
Ironically enough, as the Trump team tries to cast themselves as looking out for the best interests of the military, the Coast Guard — which is an Armed Force — isn’t getting paid thanks to the president refusing to approve any further funding without billions of dollars for a border wall. The current situation is the first in which a branch of the military hasn’t been paid ever.
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