A federal judge on Monday largely
blocked President Donald Trump's ban on transgender troops.
U.S. District Judge Colleen
Kollar-Kotelly said in her 76-page ruling that she believes
plaintiffs challenging the ban will prevail.
“The court finds that 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 – strongly suggest that
plaintiffs’ Fifth Amendment claim is meritorious,” she wrote.
The lawsuit was the first of three to
be filed challenging the ban. The National Center for Lesbian Rights
(NCLR) and GLBTQ Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filed the lawsuit
on behalf of current and aspiring transgender service members soon
after Trump tweeted his decision.
In July, Trump tweeted his call for a
complete ban on transgender troops. Roughly a month later, the White
House issued guidance on implementing Trump's ban, in which Trump
claims that the Obama administration “failed to identity a
sufficient basis” to end the military ban – which was rolled back
in June, 2016 – and orders the Pentagon to reinstate the policy,
arguing that transgender people are a “disruption” to the
Kollar-Kotelly cited Trump's unexpected
announcement on Twitter as evidence that the transgender ban was more
likely driven by animus than military effectiveness.
“[T]he president abruptly announced,
via Twitter – without any of the formality or deliberative
processes that generally accompany the development and announcement
of major policy changes that will gravely affect the lives of many
Americans – that all transgender individuals would be precluded
from participating in the military in any capacity,” she
wrote. “These circumstances provide additional support for
plaintiffs’ claim that the decision to exclude transgender
individuals was not driven by genuine concerns regarding military
Kollar-Kotelly's order leaves in place
the portion of the ban that calls on the military to stop paying for
sex reassignment surgeries.
The judge wrote that “none of the
plaintiffs have demonstrated an injury in fact with respect to the
sex reassignment surgery directive” and that “the risk of being
impacted by the sex reassignment surgery directive is not
sufficiently great to confer standing.”