The US president had asked the country’s highest court to block the recruitment of transgender soldiers, citing “a great risk to the efficiency and lethal power of the military.” Justice still has to decide on this issue on appeal.
The United States Supreme Court on Tuesday authorized the administration of President Donald Trump to block the recruitment of transgendered military personnel, pending a ruling by the courts on this sensitive issue. The US president had asked the highest court in the country to intervene urgently after trial courts had forbidden him to block these new recruits.
The administration had invoked in his appeal, on behalf of the president, “a great risk for the efficiency and lethal power of the military” to leave in force an opening policy put in place by his predecessor Democrat Barack Obama. Until that law, the military could be fired for transgender status. The Supreme Court decided by a narrow majority, 5 out of 9, to suspend the decisions of the courts until the courts of appeal are pronounced. The four progressive judges opposed this decision. President Obama had expected the army to begin accepting transgender recruits by July 1, 2017.
The Trump government first postponed the deadline to January 1, 2018, and then decided to go back completely to this policy. The Republican billionaire had put forward, in a burst of tweets in July 2017, “the burden of enormous medical costs” and “disturbances”. Several rulings invalidated the president’s decision, and transgender people were able to begin enlisting on January 1, 2018. But as early as February, then Defense Minister Jim Mattis proposed a modified version of the ban.
A “surprising” decision
Transgender people who have not changed sex, nor the intention to do so, can serve under the flag, but under their biological sex. The others are excluded, unless waived, according to the new framework. In September 2018, federal courts suspended this “new policy” as “similar” to the previous one. The government appealed and asked the Supreme Court to take the case on the merits.
While waiting for these remedies to progress, the administration had asked the Temple of American Law to urgently suspend the decisions of the courts. Otherwise, she argued, these decisions “will remain in place for at least another year and perhaps until 2020, and the military can not be forced to maintain as long a policy as it considers contrary to the interests of the nation “. There are no official figures, but it is estimated that between 1320 and 15,000 transgender people serve in the US military, out of 1.3 million active duty military personnel.
The LGBTQ rights group, Lambda Legal, has ruled the Supreme Court’s decision “astonishing to say the least.” “For more than 30 months, transgender soldiers have been openly serving our country with bravery and distinction. We will redouble our efforts to ensure that this discriminatory ban is scrapped in the story to which it belongs, “said group lawyer Peter Renn.