Second US federal court blocks Trump’s transgender military ban

The government seems likely to appeal the block to the Supreme Court

Clark Mindock
New York
Saturday 23 December 2017 20:34 GMT
Mr Trump has asked his military not to enroll transgender soldiers
Mr Trump has asked his military not to enroll transgender soldiers (Rex)

Just over a week before the policy was set to go into effect, yet another federal court has blocked President Donald Trump’s attempt to delay or eliminate a policy that would allow transgender recruits to enroll in the military.

A federal appeals court in Washington became the second court in a week to halt Mr Trump’s bid to block transgender troop enrollment before a January 1 deadline, on Friday. All told, four federal judges have ruled to block the anti-transgender troop policy. The Trump administration has appealed the three previous rulings.

A three-judge panel on the Washington D.C. federal court of appeals said in a six-page opinion that the Trump administration had “not shown a strong likelihood that they will succeed on the merits of their challenge” to a district court blocking the ban.

That ruling followed a Thursday ruling in the federal court in Richmond, Virginia, to deny the Trump administration’s effort to overturn a district decision blocking the transgender ban.

These federal court injunctions could push the Trump administration to ask the United States Supreme Court to weigh in. That court leans conservative, with a five to four split in the judgeship.

The Trump administration had argued that the January 1 deadline was problematic because it would require the training of tens of thousands of personnel in the military in order to process medical standards related to transgender troops. They said the military was not ready for that processing.

Mr Trump issued a memorandum in August that gave the military until March to stop its policy that would allow transgender troops to begin enrolling in the US military. That memo also included an order to halt the use of government funds for gender reassignment surgery for active-duty personnel.

The Obama administration had given the military a July 1, 2017 deadline to begin accepting transgender troops, but Mr Trump’s Defense Department postponed that deadline until January 1.

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