A federal judge fully rejected the Trump administration’s proposed ban on transgender service in the military and also refused to delay the onset of transgender enlistment while the administration considers appealing the decision.
Back in October, federal judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly rejected much of the Trump administration policy on transgenders in the military. On Monday, she ruled there was no compelling reason to for military to postpone enlistment of transgenders.
According to the Washington Post, Kollar-Kotelly said she “is not persuaded that defendants will be irreparably injured” by mandating that the Defense Department begin accepting applications on January 1.
“With only a brief hiatus, Defendants have had the opportunity to prepare for the accession of transgender individuals into the military for nearly one and a half years,” the judge added.
Family Research Council Senior Fellow Peter Sprigg says the judge’s decision is alarming on a number of fronts.
“I’m not terribly surprised given the obvious bias on the issue that she has shown. She has simply shown herself determined to impose her will upon the executive branch and not show any respect for the constitutional prerogatives that the president and the Defense Department have for making decisions regarding military personnel policy,” said Sprigg.
While not an attorney, Sprigg says Kollar-Kotelly’s legal reasoning seems backwards when it comes to the burden of proof in this case.
“She apparently said that there’s no emergency for the government, that it’s not going to cause any irreparable harm to the military if they begin this process.
“The standard is supposed to be the question, ‘Is there irreparable harm to the plaintiffs?’ I think that it hasn’t been demonstrated that there will be irreparable harm, particularly with respect to this issue of new recruits,” said Sprigg.
Without the policy being implemented, Sprigg says no plaintiff could be suffering irreparable harm.
“Where is the irreparable harm if someone who has not joined the military perhaps has to delay for three more months?” asked Sprigg.
In a brief statement, the Justice Department disagreed with the decision and said it was considering which legal steps to take next.
Sprigg hopes the DOJ appeals soon.
“I hope that the Justice Department would appeal this to a higher court and that they would consider at least giving a delay in the implementation, particularly of this portion of the policy,” said Sprigg.
Sprigg says that without a delay until the legal dispute is resolved, Kollar-Kotelly could be the one inflicting damage to transgenders seeking to serve in the military.
“If they are allowed to join the military beginning on January 1 and then the ultimate disposition of the case is that in fact that they can be discharged, you could argue that they would be worse off than if they had never been permitted to join in the first place,” said Sprigg.
He insists the effort to prevent transgenders from joining the military is entirely a question of readiness.
“The reason for this policy is not because the president or the Defense Department just does not like transgender people. It’s because they have a unique medical condition which make them ineligible for military service because they have limited deployability,” said Sprigg.
“To be fully deployable in military terms, you are supposed to be able to be sent anywhere in the world at any time without the need for specialized medical care. People that are undergoing transgender hormone therapy or have undergone gender reassignment surgery inherently have a need for specialized medical care,” he added.
With the Army suggesting and then scrapping an effort to allow recruits with some history of mental illness to enlist, the military revealed that it is struggling to meet recruitment goals. Sprigg says instead of pushing harder on a political agenda, recruiting numbers would probably improve.
“Perhaps if we moved away from these politically correct social engineering, then we would have an uptick in our overall recruiting picture,” said Sprigg.