Supreme Court Revives Transgender Ban For Military Service
He told the justices that prompt action was required to ensure that the Supreme Court could rule before its term ends in June. The alternative, he said, was to defer Supreme Court arguments in the matter to the term that starts in October, with a decision probably not coming until 2020.
Kerri Kupec, a Justice Department spokeswoman, welcomed the Supreme Court’s revival of the policy.
“We are pleased the Supreme Court granted stays in these cases, clearing the way for the policy to go into effect while litigation continues,” she said. “The Department of Defense has the authority to create and implement personnel policies it has determined are necessary to best defend our nation.”
In a statement released Tuesday, a Pentagon spokeswoman said that the program was not a complete ban and that transgender troops would be treated with respect and dignity.
“It is critical,” the spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Carla M. Gleason, said, that the Defense Department “be permitted to implement personnel policies that it determines are necessary to ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world.”
The department’s “proposed policy,” she said, “is based on professional military judgment.”
Some veterans groups said the Supreme Court’s move would complicate the jobs of military commanders who lead transgender service members.
“Based on earlier policy, they’ve openly declared themselves transgender, and now we’re going to kick them out for being honest, only to possibly see this ban reversed at a future time,” said Jon Soltz, an Iraq war veteran who is now chairman of VoteVets.org, a liberal veterans advocacy group. “The Supreme Court has made it harder for every commander in the military today. They’re literally going to have to look at some of the best troops we have and kick them out for being honest about who they are.”
Aaron Belkin, the director of the Palm Center, a research and advocacy group that focuses on sexuality and the military, said the military officials retained discretion over personnel policies.