Court Blocks Trump's Transgender Military Ban

By William Vogeler, Esq. on October 30, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

As a federal judge blocked President Trump's order against transgender people in the military, his transgender ban and travel bans started to sound alike.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued an injunction against Trump's directive on transgender military members, which he had dumbed down after a political backlash in July. Instead of a ban, the President said in August that transgender service members could be discharged.

It's more of the same, however, as the courts have pushed back repeatedly against the President's executive orders. Assuming more of his advisers are not indicted, Trump will probably appeal.

Triple Setbacks

On the same day the judge struck the transgender orders, Trump's former campaign manager and other advisers were hit with criminal charges. Campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were indicted; George Papadopoulous, another campaign adviser, plead guilty.

The charges related to collusion with Russia last year to influence the presidential election. Trump representatives quickly said the charges have "nothing to do with the president."

Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the Justice Department was reviewing the transgender decision. "Obviously, this is something just announced," she told CBSNews.

The judge blocked the ban pending a later decision in the case. Transgender people may join the military, the court said, but the government will not have to pay for transgender reassignment surgery.

Decision Already Made

The government had asked the judge to dismiss the case, arguing that no one has been discharged under the policy and that it is still under review. Kollar-Kotelly said the arguments were "compelling in the abstract," but "wither away under scrutiny."

"The memorandum unequivocally directs the military to prohibit indefinitely the accession of transgender individuals and to authorize their discharge," the district court judge wrote. "This decision has already been made."

Elsewhere in Washington, the U.S. Supreme Court recently dismissed two appeals of orders blocking the President's first and second travel bans because they became moot after Trump issued a third ban. A judge has also blocked that travel ban.

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