The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority have made themselves known in a 5-4 vote reinstating Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military, NPR reports. It’s yet another move by the right exposing their abhorrent disregard for trans people.
This ruling allows the Pentagon to keep transgender people from joining or remaining in the military. Trump claimed in a 2017 tweet that the ban is to keep the military from being “burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender [sic] in the military would entail.”
It’s worth bearing in mind that there are only about 900 openly trans people serving in the whole of the U.S. military, according to the Washington Post. Which proves the point: this isn’t about saving money; it’s about denying trans people rights.
The military first opened itself to trans personnel in June 2016 under the Obama administration. Trans people currently serving were given first priority under the policy so that they could legally stay in their positions and would be provided with medical care. Transgender recruits would have been permitted from July 1, 2017 on, except that Trump’s former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis delayed the opening by six months, claiming there was a need for further study. Then, Trump shared the above tweets and told Mattis to instate a ban on transgender service members by March 23, 2018.
However, in Oct. 2017, a U.S. district judge in Washington, D.C., ruled against the president’s discriminatory policy. As per NPR, the judge said transgender troops have “a strong case” for Trump’s ban violating their Fifth Amendment rights.
Now, the court’s decision puts a stay on the injunctions from two lower court cases (Trump v. Karnoski and Trump v. Stockman) that had halted the ban. The two cases are being appealed through the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
Liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan all voted to maintain a stay on the ban. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh all showed their true colors, ruling to resurrect the restrictions.
Pentagon spokesperson Air Force Lt. Col. Carla Gleason told the Washington Post that the Defense Department’s “proposed policy is NOT a ban on service by transgender persons.” She continued:
It is critical that DoD be permitted to implement personnel policies that it determines are necessary to ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world. DoD’s proposed policy is based on professional military judgment and will ensure that the U.S. Armed Forces remain the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world.
In short, the U.S. military cares more about its bloated fighting ability than ensuring it’s staffed with personnel who are able to simply be themselves and seek medical treatment.
The Supreme Court order mentions that, if the 9th Circuit court rules against the Trump administration, the ban will still stay in effect until the Supreme Court either refuses to hear the case or rules against the restrictions.