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Trump administration asks SC to take up military transgender ban

26 November 2018

It's not the first time that the administration has asked the Supreme Court to intercede in the appeals process.

The Trump administration has been unable to implement the transgender military ban because it was blocked by lower courts.

The Trump administration wants the Supreme Court to consider the ban in the current term, meaning a decision would be set for June 2019.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to review lower court rulings blocking a policy barring certain transgender people from military service.

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The events giving rise to the government's appeals began in 2016, when then-Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced that transgender individuals would be allowed to serve in the military.

Although the Supreme Court nearly always waits for a federal appeals court to render a final decision on a case before the justices will review it, federal law and Supreme Court rule 11 give the justices jurisdiction over a case at any point after it is first docketed with the appellate court.

Except in rare cases, the Supreme Court usually waits to get involved in cases until both a trial and appeals court have ruled on the matter. One famous past example is when the Nixon administration went to court to try to prohibit the publication of the Pentagon Papers, the secret history of US involvement in the Vietnam War.

In the immigration case, the administration told the high court it should decide the fate of Daca ahead of an appeals ruling because the policy otherwise could be in place until the middle of 2020. The appeals court has since ruled, but the administration's request that the court hear the case stands.

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"There is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effective on the military at all", Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the US District Court in Washington wrote a year ago.

"This is simply one more attempt by a reckless Trump administration to push through a discriminatory policy", said Jennifer Levi, director of the transgender rights project for the antidiscrimination group GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, who represents some of the plaintiffs. The president directed the military to implement the new memorandum, which would effectively ban transgender individuals from serving in the military; the trial courts rejected the government's requests to allow it to implement the policy outlined in the new memorandum. The District of Columbia federal court likewise refused to lift its identical injunction on August 6 and the Central District of California did the same on September 18.

The court will hear arguments in the census question case in February. Coming the day after the president turned a Thanksgiving message to troops into a complaint about his own losses in federal court, it is clear the administration is growing ever more desperate to undermine the law and insert prejudice and hate into our armed forces.

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Trump administration asks SC to take up military transgender ban