On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to enforce President Trump’s policy on barring certain transgender people from joining or staying in the military as justices put lower court rulings, which blocked the plan, on hold.
Thanks to the conservative-leaning majority (looking at you, Brett “I like beer. I still like beer” Kavanuagh) what started as a tweet is now a court-sanctioned policy that will lift injunctions issued by federal judges while the legal battles continue in lower courts.
Although justices refused to hear the case “before the Trump administration fights its way through federal appeals courts,” this is still a victory for the Trump administration which sought to ban all transgenders from military service.
“Trump announced the policy in July 2017 with a tweet that said the government ‘will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.’ He was upset by the costs incurred by the Pentagon for troops transitioning from one gender to the other,” USA Today reports.
In a statement Tuesday, the Pentagon noted that the policy is not a complete ban and that transgender troops would continue to be treated with respect.
“The Department of Defense’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,” Air Force Lt. Col. Carla Gleason, a Pentagon spokeswoman told USA Today.
Jennifer Levi of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders told the newspaper that some members will face discharge while the courts continue to decide the ban.
“The Trump administration’s cruel obsession with ridding our military of dedicated and capable service members because they happen to be transgender defies reason and cannot survive legal review,” Levi said.
USA Today notes that since becoming eligible Jan. 1 2018, dozens of transgender recruits have signed up for service, making them among the reported “several thousand transgender troops estimated to be serving in the active-duty force of more than 1 million, according to a Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Pentagon in 2016.”