A federal judge late on Friday (13 April) ruled that the United States military cannot implement President Trump’s trans ban. It was ruled that the second iteration of the ban Trump proposed in March wasn’t much different than the first version, introduced last July.
Judge Marsha Pechman of the Western District of Washington stated that transgender people are a protected class.
In a statement, Pechman wrote about the ‘long and well-recognized’ history of discrimination against transgender people. She noted that this oppression was ‘unrelated to their ability to perform and contribute to society.’
‘Transgender people have long been forced to live in silence, or to come out and face the threat of overwhelming discrimination,’ Pechman wrote, adding that trans people have little political power.
‘The Court also rules that, because transgender people have long been subjected to systemic oppression and forced to live in silence, they are a protected class. Therefore, any attempt to exclude them from military service will be looked at with the highest level of care, and will be subject to the Court’s “strict scrutiny.” This means that before Defendants can implement the Ban, they must show that it was sincerely motivated by compelling interests, rather than by prejudice or stereotype, and that it is narrowly tailored to achieve those interests.’
Though Trump claimed he had consulted military experts regarding the ban, Pechman noted the government ‘failed to identify even one General or military expert he consulted, despite having been ordered to do so repeatedly.’
Response from Lambda Legal
Sharon McGowan, Director of Strategy for Lambda Legal and former official in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Tweeted the following:
Judge Pechman cut through the nonsense and realized that there was no “new ban” – just the same ole ban w/ some new packaging. Trans discrimination triggers strict scrutiny. Full stop. DOJ gets one last chance to defend policy but make no mistake – this ban is going DOWN! https://t.co/YaevJXouof
— Sharon_McGowan (@SharonMcGowanDC) April 14, 2018