US Supreme Court Allows Trump Ban on Transgender Troops to Temporarily Take Effect

In an order issued today, the US Supreme Court has granted the Trump administration’s request to stay orders in two cases filed in federal district courts within the 9th Circuit to block the administration’s policy banning most transgender people from serving in the military from going into effect. The Court’s decision permits the ban to be temporarily implemented while the cases progress through the appeals process and any Supreme Court review. The Court denied the Trump administration’s request to bypass the appellate process completely, but provides a preview of how the Court will likely rule if it hears these cases on the merits.

The Court’s 5-4 ruling reflects the ideological split among the justices, with the five conservatives voting to grant the stay. Trump’s ban, which he initially announced via Twitter in 2017, represents a reversal of the Obama administration’s 2016 decision to allow transgender service members to serve openly. Following today’s ruling, only transgender troops who are already serving openly or “in their biological sex” can remain in the military.

Additional Reading

Supreme Court Revives Trump’s Ban on Transgender Military Personnel, For Now, NPR, January 22, 2019

Supreme Court Revives Transgender Ban for Military Service, The New York Times, January 22, 2019

Order List, filed January 22, 2019 in Trump v. Karnoski and Trump v. Stockman

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