The Supreme Court has allowed President Trump’s partial ban on transgender people serving in the military to go into effect, CNN reports. However, the Justices haven’t ruled on the merits of the case — they’ve just said that they won’t hear the case until the lower federal appeals court challenges have been resolved. The vote went along party lines, with the four liberal justices objecting to the ruling.
Trump first announced the controversial policy in 2017 in a series of tweets, which read in part that “the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.” Shortly afterward, the Washington D.C. district court issued an injunction preventing the ban from going into effect. Four district court justices have blocked the policy, according to USA Today.
Transgender rights advocates have continued to fight the ban. In October, attorneys filed a brief that argued the administration had no justification for their then-proposed ban.
“It’s hard to understand the military’s end game, because excluding people who are willing to put their lives on the line for this country doesn’t make any sense. It’s not good for the military and it’s not good for this country,” Jennifer Levi, transgender rights project director for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders and one of the lead attorneys behind the brief, told Rolling Stone. “The military is strengthened by qualified, fit people being able to serve, and the government has offered no justification for banning transgender people from serving.”
The ban blocks individuals who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria from serving, with some exceptions, and cites that those without the condition can serve, but only if they do so according to the sex they were assigned at birth.
Following the High Court’s decision on Tuesday, the Pentagon released a statement (via CNN).
“As always, we treat all transgender persons with respect and dignity. DoD’s proposed policy is NOT a ban on service by transgender persons. It’s critical that DoD be permitted to implement personnel policies that it determines are necessary to ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world,” Pentagon spokesperson LT. Col. Carla Gleason told CNN. “DoD’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.”