As President Donald Trump continues to rage about who’s not nice enough to him for his liking, his team keeps trying to reshape American policy to be more in line with their far right agenda — but for now, at least part of those efforts face a new roadblock. Federal Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly asserted this week that an earlier injunction she handed down blocking the implementation of a planned ban on transgender members of the U.S. Armed Forces remains in place despite the Trump administration’s claims otherwise.
After a lengthy legal battle, acting Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist moved to implement the ban last week with a memo that made the policy effective come April 12 — but in reality, the legal battle is not over. Although three other injunctions blocking the policy have been lifted, including two that the U.S. Supreme Court handled, Kollar-Kotelly’s is still in place. Although a D.C. appeals court offered a ruling lifting the injunction, until at least March 29, that ruling is only preliminary while the plantiffs decide whether to pursue the matter further.
The transgender rights project director with GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders Jennifer Levi praised Kollar-Kotelly’s newest assertion, offering:
‘The Trump administration cannot circumvent the judicial process just to fast track its baseless, unfair ban on transgender service members. The dedicated transgender troops who show up every day to do their duty and serve their country deserve justice, and that includes requiring this administration to follow the ordinary rules of judicial process.’
President Trump first unveiled his plans to ban transgender troops from serving in the military with a set of tweets back in 2017. Legal battles immediately ensued — and the administration ended up ordered to start accepting openly transgender soldiers in 2018, a long-awaited U.S. policy change which had been incoming until the Trump team moved to stop it. After the beginning of 2018 came and went, however, the U.S. Armed Forces lagged significantly in their actual acceptance of transgender recruits — and eventually, the newly Republican-majority U.S. Supreme Court lifted the aforementioned temporary injunctions blocking the formal policy while litigation proceeded through lower-level courts.
After the Supreme Court lifted two injunctions, a federal judge in Maryland ruled he felt he must lift a third, leaving just the one that Kollar-Kotelly handed down.
The entire premise of the ban was based on a lie in the first place. It’s false that providing healthcare specific to transgender service members’ identities would pose some kind of insurmountable burden to the military — they spend more on Viagra than they’ve been projected to spend on transgender health services.
The lie mirrors others that the Trump administration has put forward as the basis for major policy decisions, such as the claim that there is an undocumented immigration “crisis” at the southern border necessitating spending billions upon billions on a border wall that criminals can just go around.
The issues are among the many paving the way to the 2020 elections. Just this week, presidential candidate and Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) explicitly pledged to undo the ban on transgender service members if elected.
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