UPDATE (March 26): A Washington, D.C., federal court has released a new order that puts the trans military ban back in motion. According to the court filing, the motion allows for the issuance of the policy to begin in April.
This ban will impact over 13,700 soldiers in the United States military.
Below is background on the most recent halt the ban experienced. Elected officials plan to introduce new legislation in Congress later this week in last-ditch effort to stop the ban.
This is developing news...
A federal judge has thrown a wrench into the Trump administration’s plan to implement its ban on transgender people in the military, saying her injunction against the ban still stands.
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia released a notice today asserting that her injunction of October 2017 remains in place. She was one of four federal judges in four separate cases to issue injunctions keeping the ban from going into effect while lawsuits against it proceed through the courts.
The Supreme Court struck down two of the injunctions in January, and a federal judge in Maryland vacated a third one earlier this month. But lawyers representing the transgender troops and others challenging the ban contended that Kollar-Kotelly’s injunction was still valid. A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals had reversed it in early January, but that court has not issued its final order, and the challengers have not had a chance to appeal the ruling to the full court. Kollar-Kotelly agreed that these factors mean her injunction stands.
The three judges ruling for D.C. Circuit, she wrote, did not issue their written opinions until March 8, and they gave the plaintiffs — the trans troops — 21 days after that date to seek an appeal from the full circuit. “As of this date, Plaintiffs’ time has not expired,” she wrote. As such, the D.C. Circuit’s mandate vacating this Court’s preliminary injunction has not issued, and the mandate will not issue until March 29, 2019, at the earliest. … Lacking a mandate, Defendants remain bound by this Court’s preliminary injunction to maintain the status quo.”
Donald Trump’s administration had filed a legal brief March 9 claiming no impediment remained to implementing the ban. It followed this up March 12 with a memorandum saying that within 30 days, the military will discharge or deny enlistment to anyone who won’t serve in the gender to which they were assigned at birth, or who are undergoing hormone therapy or other gender-confirmation procedures.
Lawyers for the trans troops hailed Kollar-Kotelly’s ruling. GLBTQ Advocates and Defenders and the National Center for Lesbian Rights are representing the current and aspiring military members in the suit before her, Doe v. Trump.
“The Trump administration cannot circumvent the judicial process just to fast track its baseless, unfair ban on transgender service members,” said GLAD Transgender Rights Project director Jennifer Levi in a press release. “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.”
NCLR legal director Shannon Minter added, “Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s ruling today makes crystal clear that her order enjoining the ban from going into effect remains in place. As a result, the government may not take any steps to institute a ban on transgender troops.”
The Advocate has sought comment from the White House but has received no response yet.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.