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Trump asks Supreme Court to rule on trans military ban
2018-11-23

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The Trump administration has asked the U.S. Supreme Court Nov. 23 to quickly hear a challenge to President Donald Trump's policy that bans most transgender individuals from military service.

So far, district courts across the country have blocked the policy from going into effect. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in one challenge earlier this fall; the D.C. Circuit will hear arguments in early December, CNN.com reported.

The U.S. Supreme Court rarely gets quickly involved in cases, usually waiting until both lower courts from various areas of the country have ruled on them.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi vowed to "fight this discriminatory action."

"The great majority of people in this country recognize that transgender people who can meet the same standards as others should have an equal opportunity to serve," said National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Legal Director Shannon Minter in a joint statement from NCLR, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and Equality California. "Allowing President Trump's ban to be implemented would upend thousands of lives and weaken our Armed Forces."

"The Trump administration is trying to frame the successful policy of including transgender troops not just as a failure, but a failure that is so severe that the Supreme Court must weigh in on an emergency basis. Its assertion makes a mockery of the evidence. Transgender service members have compiled a two-year record of achievement serving America on the front lines. They are proving every day what military leaders and medical professionals told us: that inclusive service strengthens the U.S. military and makes our country safer," said Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, in a separate statement.

Lambda Legal Counsel Peter Renn added in yet another press release, "This highly unusual step is wildly premature and inappropriate, both because there is no final judgment in the case, and because even the preliminary issue on appeal has not yet been decided. It seems the Trump administration can't wait to discriminate."

The CNN.com item is at www.cnn.com/2018/11/23/politics/military-transgender-ban-supreme-court/index.html .

Below from Equality California, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders and National Center for Lesbian Rights

WASHINGTON — The Trump Administration filed petitions for cert before judgment today in three cases challenging Trump's transgender military ban: Doe v. Trump, Stockman v. Trump, and Karnoski v. Trump. The National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders ( GLAD ), who represent plaintiffs in both Doe and Stockman and were the first to challenge the ban, characterized the filing as an unusual attempt by the administration to bypass the standard appeals process.

There are four lawsuits in total challenging the transgender military ban, and all four federal courts to hear these cases have issued preliminary injunctions halting the ban from moving forward while the case is being heard in court. In issuing the preliminary injunctions, the courts each determined that the plaintiffs challenging the ban—who include current servicemembers, ROTC and military academy students and enlistees—would ultimately prevail. If the Supreme Court were to grant the administration's request, it would consider this term whether to lift the injunction while the cases proceed in the lower courts. Excluding transgender people who meet military standards undermines readiness and would dramatically upend the lives and families of thousands of trans servicemembers and enlistees, and disrupt the military as a whole.

"There is no urgency here and no reason for the Court to weigh in at this juncture," said Jennifer Levi, GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director. "The injunctions preserve the status quo of the open service policy that was thoroughly vetted by the military itself and has been in place now for more than two years. This is simply one more attempt by a reckless Trump administration to push through a discriminatory policy. The policy flies in the face of military research and dozens of top military experts."

"The great majority of people in this country recognize that transgender people who can meet the same standards as others should have an equal opportunity to serve," said Shannon Minter, NCLR Legal Director. Allowing President Trump's ban to be implemented would upend thousands of lives and weaken our Armed Forces."

"As Americans come together and give thanks for the sacrifices made by our brave servicemembers and their families, the Trump-Pence Administration is focused on undermining our military by tripling down on this discriminatory ban," said Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California which brought the Stockman case on behalf its members. "There are thousands of transgender service members bravely serving the nation with distinction. The Administration ought to be thanking them for their service—not trying to score political points by purging them from our military."

Oral argument in Doe v. Trump is currently scheduled to be held on December 10 in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

For more information, go to NCLR and GLAD's website outlining the history and status of the Trump-Pence transgender military ban https://notransmilitaryban.org/.

BACKGROUND

June 30, 2016: The United States Department of Defense ( DOD ) adopted a policy permitting transgender people to serve in the military based on a nearly two year DOD review determining that there was no valid reason to exclude qualified personnel from military service simply because they are transgender.

July 26, 2017: President Trump tweeted that "the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military."

August 9, 2017: NCLR and GLAD filed Doe v. Trump, the first lawsuit filed to stop the ban, challenging its constitutionality and requesting that the court issue a nationwide preliminary injunction to stop it from taking effect while the case is being heard in court.

August 25, 2017: President Trump issued a memorandum ordering Secretary of Defense James Mattis to submit "a plan for implementing" the ban by February 21, 2018. Secretary Mattis delivered this ( the "Mattis Plan" and panel report ) to President Trump on February 22, 2018.

October 30, 2017: The United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that Doe v. Trump plaintiffs had established a likelihood of success on their claim that President Trump's ban violates equal protection, that plaintiffs would be irreparably harmed without a preliminary injunction to stop the ban, and that the public interest and balance of hardships weighed in favor of granting injunctive relief and temporarily halting the ban while the case is heard by the court.

March 23, 2018: President Trump accepts the "Mattis Plan" and issues a memorandum in which he "revoked" his August 25 Memorandum.

April 20, 2018: Defendants file a motion to dissolve the October 30 nationwide preliminary injunction enjoining the transgender military ban issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia; a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint; and a Motion for Summary Judgment.

May 11, 2018: Plaintiffs file their cross-motion for summary judgment, as well as motions in opposition to Defendant's motions to dissolve the injunction and dismiss Plaintiffs' complaint.

August 6, 2018: Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly denies Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Motion to Dissolve the Preliminary Injunction.

August 27, 2018: Defendants filed a notice of appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals of Judge Kollar-Kotelly's denial of their motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of the transgender military ban.

September 21, 2018: The Defendants-Appellants filed their opening brief in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

October 22, 2018: Plaintiffs-Appellees filed their opposition to Defendants' appeal, asking the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to leave in place the preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the transgender military ban.

October 29, 2018: A wide array of former military leaders, veterans' and civil rights organizations, women's groups, military scholars and historians, and states went on record opposing President Trump's ongoing efforts to exclude transgender people from military service, in thirteen friend-of-the-court briefs filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

NCLR and GLAD have been at the center of the legal fight challenging the Trump-Pence transgender military ban since filing Doe v. Trump, the first of four cases filed against the ban, on August 9, 2017.

—From a press release

Equality California is the nation's largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org .

Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation. www.GLAD.org .

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. www.NCLRights.org .


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