In a decision LGBTQ rights advocates immediately denounced as an "awful attack" on the rights of transgender Americans, the Supreme Court's conservative majority on Tuesday gave a green light to President Donald Trump's widely condemned ban on transgender people serving in the military.
While one nationwide injunction against the ban remains in effect—meaning Trump's policy cannot yet be implemented—Slate's Mark Joseph Stern noted that the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling makes it likely that the remaining injunction will "soon be reversed."
"This is heartbreaking and temporary," declared ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio, expressing hope that Trump's ban will be defeated in the lower courts. "We will all keep fighting to take down this discriminatory ban. In court, at the ballot, and through our transformation of public discourse and understanding."
The impact of SCOTUS action on trans military cases:
1. Legally - 1 nationwide injunction is still in place. So ban not yet in effect.
2. Practically - This is an awful attack on trans people and we will keep fighting.
Your "both sides" takes on trans existence are not wanted.
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— Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) January 22, 2019
It's deeply upsetting that the Supreme Court lifted blocks on the trans military ban that were secured by two lawsuits while federal courts continue to review.
It did NOT lift the nationwide block secured in our case, Stone v. Trump, which is before a court in Maryland.
— ACLU (@ACLU) January 22, 2019
"Disgusting, shameful, bigoted, cruel. Trans people have the right to exist, to serve, to live with dignity," added LGBTQ rights advocate and writer Lauren Rankin. "This is frightening indication of what's to come from this far-right Supreme Court."
Trump's initial plan, unveiled in 2017, would have completely barred transgender individuals from serving in the military, but several courts ruled that the proposal was unconstitutional.
As the Washington Post notes, the plan the Supreme Court approved on Tuesday—devised by former Defense Secretary James Mattis—would "bar those from the military who identify with a gender different from their birth gender and who are seeking to transition. Mattis's plan makes exceptions, for instance, for about 900 transgender individuals who are already serving openly and for others who would serve in accordance with their birth gender."