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Supreme Court Allows Trump’s Transgender Military Ban to Proceed

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a temporary ruling that would allow the Trump administration’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military to take effect. The court ruled 5-4 that while litigation proceeds in the lower courts, the military should be permitted to implement the policy, and lifted several national injunctions that were preventing it from happening. The decision does not reflect the court’s opinion on the merits of the ban. The Trump administration had previously requested that the court take up its early challenge, before an appeals court weighed in. Justices Kavanaugh, Roberts, Gorsuch, Thomas, and Alito voted in support of not taking up the administration’s case; Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Breyer dissented. The policy—which Trump first disclosed on Twitter in July 2017—forbids individuals who identify with a gender different from their biological sex from entering military service, unless they’re either already serving openly or are willing to enroll “in their biological sex.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Defense denied the policy would ban transgender individuals from service. “As always, we treat all transgender persons with respect and dignity,” spokeswoman Lt. Col. Carla Gleason wrote in a statement tweeted by Washington Post military reporter Dan Lamothe. “DoD’s proposed policy is NOT a ban on service by transgender persons. It is critical that DoD be permitted to implement personnel policies that it determines are necessary to ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world.”