Ruling pushes back Trump’s Twitter initiative from July

Developments on Day 284 of the Trump Administration:

Judge: Evidence of “Negative Effect” of Trump Ban

A federal judge temporarily blocks Donald Trump’s ban on military service by transgender troops, ruling that it is based on “disapproval of transgender people generally”.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, of the Federal District Court in Washington DC, said of the ban, due to take effect in March 2018:

There is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effect on the military at all. In fact, there is considerable evidence that it is the discharge and banning of such individuals that would have such effects.

Judge Kollar-Kotelly said Trump’s order probably violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution based on a “number of factors — including the sheer breadth of the exclusion ordered by the directives, the unusual circumstances surrounding the President’s announcement of them, the fact that the reasons given for them do not appear to be supported by any facts, and the recent rejection of those reasons by the military itself”.

The ruling allows current transgender troops to re-enlist and permits transgender recruits to join the military from January.

The Justice Department said, “We disagree with the court’s ruling and are currently evaluating the next steps.”

Trump announced via Twitter in July, without consulting the Pentagon or military commanders, that US forces could not afford the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” of transgender troops. He provided no evidence for the financial claim, but said “the United States Government will not accept or allow them to serve in any capacity in the US Military”.

Setting aside the military’s plan to intengrate transgender troops, a Presidential memorandum in August required all transgender service members to be discharged, beginning in March 2018.

A 2016 study commissioned by the military, in preparation for integratino, found that allowing transgender people to serve openly would have “little or no impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness” and “minimal impact on readiness and health care costs”. It estimated that health care costs would rise $2.4 million to $8.4 million a year, a 0.04% to 0.13% increase in spending.