Announcement of Ban via Tweets 'Certainly Can Be Considered Shocking Under the Circumstances'
A federal judge has entirely halted President Donald Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, and called the Commander-in-Chief's tweets announcing the total ban in July "capricious, arbitrary, and unqualified." Trump this past summer sought to bar any new transgender recruits from entering the military and discharge all openly-transgender service members.
U.S. District Court Judge Marvin J. Garbis on Tuesday afternoon became the second judge to block Trump's attempt to ban transgender service members. In late October a different federal judge blocked most of Trump's ban. In his 53-page ruling, as Buzzfeed's Dominic Holden reports, Judge Garbis also charged that Trump did not conduct any form of review of policy and did not take action in the national interest.
"President Trump’s tweets did not emerge from a policy review, nor did the Presidential Memorandum identify any policymaking process or evidence demonstrating that the revocation of transgender rights was necessary for any legitimate national interest," Judge Garbis wrote in his decision "Based on the circumstances surrounding the President’s announcement and the departure from normal procedure, the Court agrees with the D.C. Court that there is sufficient support for Plaintiffs’ claims that 'the decision to exclude transgender individuals was not driven by genuine concerns regarding military efficacy.'"
Here's how Trump in July announced he was banning all service members who are transgender from the U.S. Armed Forces:
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
The judge, as Holden notes, on Tuesday also called Trump tweets from July 26 (above) – in which he announced without warning, study, or consultation with stakeholders, including his generals – "shocking."
"An unexpected announcement by the President and Commander in Chief of the United States via Twitter that 'the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military' certainly can be considered shocking under the circumstances," the decision continued.
And in a strong acknowledgment of the plaintiff's case, the judge wrote they "have demonstrated to the Court’s satisfaction that they are likely to suffer imminent harm as a result of the Directives in the President’s Memorandum."
"They have further demonstrated that they are already suffering harmful consequences such as the cancellation and postponements of surgeries," the judge continued, "the stigma of being set apart as inherently unfit, facing the prospect of discharge and inability to commission as an officer, the inability to move forward with long-term medical plans, and the threat to their prospects of obtaining long-term assignments."
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