Trump Asks Supreme Court To Take Up Challenge To Transgender Military Ban Right Away

The White House wants the court to allow the challenge to leapfrog the lower courts so it can be reviewed right away.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media prior to his departure from the White House November 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Trump is traveling to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, for the Thanksgiving holiday. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong / Getty Images

The White House wants the court to allow the challenge to leapfrog the lower courts so it can be reviewed right away.

The White House asked the Supreme Court to hear arguments over the legal challenge to the Trump administration’s transgender military ban. The issue hasn’t yet made its way through the lower courts, so the request would allow the challenge to jump past the usual process so that the justices could take up the challenge right away, the Hill reports.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco filed a petition that says that the current policy, which was implemented by former President Barack Obama, threatens the ability of the military to be fully prepared, and establishes “an unreasonable burden on the military that is not conducive to military readiness and lethality.” As such, he believes that the case, which is being reviewed in lower courts right now, should be moved to the supreme court.

In July of last year, Trump announced that the military would no longer allow transgender individuals to serve in the military, taking military leaders by surprise. The new policy was announced through a series of tweets with no details on how to implement the new policy, nor how to handle existing transgender military troops.

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump wrote. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

In August, 2017, Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the plan would be delayed.

“Since becoming the Secretary of Defense, I have emphasized that the Department of Defense must measure each policy decision against one critical standard: will the decision affect the readiness and lethality of the force?” Mattis said. “Put another way, how will the decision affect the ability of America’s military to defend the nation? It is against this standard that I provide the following guidance on the way forward in accessing transgender individuals into the military Services.”

Later, Mattis said that plan would be modified to allow people to serve if they agree to serve “in their biological sex.”

Since then, the ban has been blocked by district courts, leaving the policy in a state of limbo. The petition claims that by forcing the military to allow transgender individuals to serve and use the facilities as their preferred gender, it invades the privacy of others. Civil liberty groups have criticized the request.

“There is no urgency here and no reason for the Court to weigh in at this juncture,” said Jennifer Levi, an LGBTQ rights activist.