The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Trump administration barring most transgenders people from serving in the armed forces.
Giving the administration a major victory in a 5-4 vote Tuesday, the justices protracted lower court decisions that had blocked the administration’s slated ban from taking effect, clearing the way for the implementation of President Trump’s policy while litigation continues.
Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer dissented.
None of the justices provided any explanation but insinuated they will ultimately uphold the stipulation.
“We are pleased the Supreme Court granted stays in these cases, clearing the way for the policy to go into effect while litigation continues,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in an emailed statement. “Due to lower courts issuing nationwide injunctions, our military had been forced to maintain a prior policy that poses a risk to military effectiveness and lethality for over a year.”
President Trump first announced his decision to ban transgenders from serving in July 2017 via Twitter.
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump said. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
The policy, which officially released by then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis in 2018, blocks individuals who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria from serving with limited exceptions, while individuals without the gender condition can serve if they do so according to the sex they were assigned at birth.
Mattis directed Gen. Patrick Shanahan, the then-deputy secretary of defense and now-acting Secretary of Defense, and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop the implementation of the policy.
A 2019 Pentagon report warns enlisting transgender troops “risks unnecessarily adding to the challenges faced by leaders at all levels, potentially fraying unit cohesion, and threatening good order and discipline.
The Trump administration advised courts dissenting the ban to refer to the Defense Departments judgment.
Former President Barack Obama lifted a longstanding prohibition of transgender troops serving in June 2016.
Democrats were quick to condemn the Supreme Court ruling.
“Prejudice is not patriotism. Discrimination is not a national security strategy. This ban is nothing more than bigotry codified into law and an insult to all who have worn our nation’s uniform,” Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez said in a statement.
Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA.) said claimed the transgender ban is a return to the “bigoted” policy under which openly gay people were barred from military service.
“The ban would essentially restore ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ for transgender service members, only allowing them to serve if they hide their true identity,” Feinstein said.
The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) argued that “anyone who is qualified and willing should be allowed to serve their country openly.”
“We have fought against this bigoted policy at every step, and we will continue to do so,” he said.
A recent poll of United States service members and veterans found that only 39 percent approve of transgender individuals serving in the military.
When the sex of the respondent is a factor, the poll – which surveyed the views of 1,031 service members and veterans – shows that 37 percent of male members approve of transgender troops, while 62 percent of females approve.
Only 32 percent of World War II veterans approve of transgender troops, while 39 percent of Baby Boomers, 42 percent of Generation X and 55 percent of Millennials approve.