WASHINGTON, D.C., November 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration is asking the United States Supreme Court to take up the case of its ban on transgender soldiers in the military, skipping appeals courts in the interest of a speedier resolution.
Finalized in March, the policy disqualifies “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria,” specifically those who “may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery,” except in “certain limited circumstances.” It was developed after “extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders, including combat veterans,” according to the White House and as detailed in a memo from Defense Secretary James Mattis.
The ban has been challenged in court since before it was even finalized, and in July the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the administration’s request to lift a temporary injunction against enforcing it.
On Friday, the administration petitioned the nation’s highest court to hear case instead of waiting for it to work its way through lower courts whose outcomes would almost certainly be appealed anyway, Jurist reports.
The Supreme Court’s rules allow it to fast-track cases that haven’t yet reached it if they’re shown to be “of such an imperative public importance as to justify deviation from normal appellate practice and to require immediate determination in this court.” The administration argues that a dispute over the “authority of the U.S. military to determine who may serve in the Nation’s armed forces” qualifies.
Pro-LGBT attorneys challenging the policy, such as Lambda Legal’s Peter Renn, told NPR that the Trump administration simply “can't wait to discriminate.”
But numerous military veterans and experts, such as Heritage Foundation defense expert and retired Lieutenant General Tom Spoehr and former Army drill instructor John Burk, endorse Defense Secretary James Mattis’s conclusion that gender dysphoria in the ranks harms “healthcare costs, readiness, and unit cohesion,” and therefore presents “considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality.”
Center for Military Readiness (CMR) leader Elaine Donnelly argues that the policy’s foes are attempting to stigmatize something that was a consensus view before LGBT activists took yet another left turn. “In June 2017, for example, AP reported that three of four military service leaders wanted one or two years more time before implementing Obama-era transgender mandates,” she wrote.
If four Supreme Court justices agree to hear the case early, the policy’s fate would likely be revealed sometime in summer 2019.