( WASHINGTON ) December 26, 2018 — Today, OutServe-SLDN joined co-counsel Lambda Legal in urging the Supreme Court to deny a petition from the U.S. Department of Justice ( DOJ ) asking that the Court review three preliminary federal district court rulings that have kept the Trump-Pence Administration from implementing its discriminatory plan to ban transgender people from serving openly and authentically in our nation's armed services. The three preliminary rulings include one from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, in the lawsuit brought by OutServe-SLDN and Lambda Legal, and joined by the State of Washington, challenging the constitutionality of the proposed ban.
"There is no justification for this tactic, other than the president's callous need to harm transgender servicemembers and recruits as quickly as he can," said Peter Perkowski, OutServe-SLDN Legal & Policy Director. "The Trump-Pence Administration's attempt to just the line is not warranted: transgender people are currently serving openly and have been for more than two years. The Service Chiefs themselves have told Congress that there have been no problems with their open and authentic service. What's the rush? The process should play out in the normal course. We're confident that the Supreme Court will see through this request as premature."
"The Trump-Pence Administration's continued attempts to undermine our transgender siblings' right to serve is disgraceful," said Andy Blevins, OutServe-SLDN Executive Director. "Time and again, our transgender siblings-in-arms have proven that they are not only qualified to serve, but that they are vital in accomplishing the mission. Blatant discriminatory actions at the hands of our nation's largest employer of the LGBTQ community cannot be allowed to continue."
OutServe-SLDN and Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit, Karnoski v. Trump, in August 2017, on behalf of nine individual plaintiffs and three organizational plaintiffs — the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ), Seattle-based Gender Justice League, and the American Military Partner Association ( AMPA ). The State of Washington later joined the lawsuit. The district court in December 2017, granted the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction preventing implementation of the ban, which DOJ chose not to challenge on appeal, and the court maintained that preliminary injunction in April after the Trump administration released a plan for implementing its discriminatory ban. The Administration appealed that latter ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard oral argument on October 10, 2018. The Ninth Circuit previously denied DOJ's request to stay the preliminary injunction during the appeal, thereby allowing transgender people to continue serving, and DOJ declined to ask the Supreme Court for a stay while the appeal proceeded.
In addition to Karnoski v. Trump, the administration also asked the Supreme Court to review the preliminary injunctions in Stockman v. Trump and Doe v. Trump, lawsuits also challenging the ban, filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders ( GLAD ). Doe v. Trump was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and is pending on appeal at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Stockman v. Trump was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and is also pending on appeal at the Ninth Circuit.
Read OutServe-SLDN's reply brief at www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/dc_karnoski_20181225_scotus-brief-in-opposition-to-petition-for-cert-before-judgment ..
Read more about Karnoski v. Trump here: www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/karnoski-v-trump .
Working on this case, OutServe-SLDN Legal & Policy Director Peter Perkowski is joined by Lambda Legal attorneys: Peter Renn, Diana Flynn, Camilla B. Taylor, Tara Borelli, Paul Castillo, Sasha Buchert and Kara Ingelhart. Also on the legal team are pro-bono co-counsel at Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Newman Du Wors LLP.
OutServe-SLDN ( OS-SLDN ) is the largest non-profit, legal services, advocacy and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. With more than fifty chapters and 60,000 subscribers around the world, OS-SLDN supports a professional network of LGBT military personnel and strives to create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. OS-SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. For more information, visit www.outserve-sldn.org .
—From a press release
Related: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Trans-Ban-Plaintiffs-Ask-Court-to-Deny-Premature-Request-for-Review/65052.html .