Connect with us

‘Grossly Misleading’: LGBT Legal Experts Slam Reports Defense Secretary Has ‘Frozen’ Transgender Policy

Published

on

New Military Study Is ‘A Transparent Effort to Provide a Retroactive Fig Leaf for the President’s Bigotry’ Says Attorney

Legal experts on LGBT issues are pushing back hard against a Tuesday night report in USA Today titled: “Mattis freezes transgender policy; allows troops to continue serving, pending study.”

Many concerned by the Trump administration’s attack on transgender active duty service members were pleased to read the USA Today report, and those that followed (including NCRM’s), but not civil rights attorney Shannon Minter, who blasted the media.

The USA Today story is grossly misleading,” Minter, who is the legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), which is suing the Trump administration over the president’s ban on transgender troops. “Secretary Mattis did not make a decision to ‘buy time’ or to ‘freeze’ the current policy,” Minter chastised. 

Minter says the memo President Trump signed on Friday “expressly provides that the new ban does not go into effect until March 23, 2018 and expressly states that no one can be discharged for being transgender in the meantime. There is nothing new at all here, and suggesting otherwise is terribly misleading.”

Minter goes on to slam what he says is “inaccurate reporting” that “is playing into a patently bogus strategy to make it appear that there is going to be some new ‘study’ that will legitimate what is already a forgone conclusion: the discriminatory banning of military service by transgender people, based on a characteristic that has no bearing on their fitness to serve.”

He calls Mattis’ study “a transparent effort to provide a retroactive fig leaf for the President’s bigotry,” and “a blatant pretext for unmitigated, vicious, baseless discrimination.” Trump’s ban on transgender service members, Minter adds, is “an act of pure animus toward transgender people.” 

He also called on “reporters to fact check these stories and not simply repeat false information that is being used to set up an attempted cover for one of the most shocking acts of official discrimination the transgender community has ever experienced.”

Minter is not the only attorney speaking out.

Joshua Block, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & HIV Projects responded to a since-deleted tweet from a Washington Post reporter. He says: “Inaccurate spin. Order already requires this ‘study.’ Discretion is about time, place, manner of separation. No discretion not to implement.”

The ACLU is also suing Trump over the transgender ban, in a separate action from NCLR’s.

Another ACLU attorney, Chase Strangio, a Staff Attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & AIDS Project, took to Twitter also, posting his thoughts on the Mattis announcement and subsequent reports.

Strange tweeted that the USA Today “headline and article overstate what is happening here. Surgeries are still being cancelled and reenlistments denied.” And he adds that Defense Secretary Mattis “clearly has no patience or respect for the president. But his options are limited under Trump’s sweeping, monstrous directive.”

Stragio at one point does say, “This is still a good sign and we should support this action by Mattis.”

But he also warns:

To comment on this article and other NCRM content, visit our Facebook page. 

Image: DOD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith via Flickr and a CC license 

 

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

FIRST AMENDMENT? WHAT FIRST AMENDMENT?

Justice Clarence Thomas Believes Media Criticism of Decisions ‘Jeopardizes Any Faith’ in the Supreme Court

Published

on

Justice Clarence Thomas complained about the harsh criticism the Supreme Court has received since allowing a controversial anti-abortion law to go into effect in Texas.

Thomas delivered the 2021 Tocqueville Lecture at the University of Notre Dame on Thursday, where he complained about media criticism, The Washington Post reported.

“I think the media makes it sound as though you are just always going right to your personal preference. So if they think you are anti-abortion or something personally, they think that’s the way you always will come out. They think you’re for this or for that. They think you become like a politician,” Thomas said.

“That’s a problem. You’re going to jeopardize any faith in the legal institutions,” he said.

A second Post report on the speech noted Thomas’ remarks on the ongoing mistrust of the court.

“The court was thought to be the least dangerous branch and we may have become the most dangerous,” Thomas said. “And I think that’s problematic.”

The newspaper noted the lecture was interrupted by protesters who yelled, “I still believe Anita Hill.”

 

Continue Reading

AMERICAN IDIOT

‘Genius’ Madison Cawthorn Mocked for Claiming the Constitution Prohibits Airlines From Requiring Vaccinations

Published

on

U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn is once again being mocked, this time for yet again not understanding the very basics of American democracy.

On Thursday the Republican from North Carolina claimed it is “illegal” and unconstitutional for airlines to require passengers to be vaccinated, because “you actually have a constitutionally protected right to free, unrestricted travel within the United States.”

That last part has a tiny shred of truth to it. Just not in the way Congressman Cawthorn thinks.

(Those inteested in the legal mechanics should examine this and this.)

Anyone could take a minute to come up with arguments why his claim is false, including that anyone driving a car is required to have a driver’s license and insurance, and wear a seat belt.

The freshman Congressman was quickly mocked:

 

 

Continue Reading

News

29 Months Later Bill Barr’s Super Secret Russia Special Counsel Files His Second Indictment – for Alleged Lying

Published

on

In April of 2019 then-Attorney General Bill Barr ordered the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut to open and lead an investigation into Russia – not into how Russia has been attacking the United States via cyber warfare, undermining Americans’ trust in American institutions, and using social media to do it, but into whether or not the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been warranted in opening an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, including its investigation of Donald Trump.

On Thursday, 29 months after Barr first appointed John Durham (photo, right) to lead that super-secret investigation, 11 months after Barr secretly turned Durham into a special counsel to ensure the investigation would continue past his and Trump’s tenure, and after spending untold millions of taxpayer dollars, the Dept. of Justice has announced Durham has obtained a second indictment.

“A prominent cybersecurity lawyer was indicted on a charge of lying to the F.B.I. five years ago during a meeting about Donald J. Trump and Russia, the Justice Department announced on Thursday,” The New York Times reports.

The lawyer, Michael Sussmann, “of the law firm Perkins Coie, which has deep ties to the Democratic Party — is accused of making a false statement about his client at the meeting.”

Mr. Sussmann’s defense lawyers have denied the accusation, saying that he did not make a false statement, that the evidence he did is weak and that who he was representing was not a material fact in any case. They have vowed to fight any charge in court.

At issue is who was Sussman working for when he “relayed concerns by cybersecurity researchers who believed that unusual internet data might be evidence of a covert communications channel between computer servers associated with the Trump Organization and with Alfa Bank, a Kremlin-linked Russian financial institution.”

Apparently not at issue is if the Trump Organization or campaign had a secret communications channel to a Kremlin-linked organization.

Frequent viewers of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow are likely familiar with her reporting on Alfa Bank, including this segment from October 2018:

Durham has not obtained any indictment against anyone in Russia, any Russian operatives, any Trump Organization or campaign official, or anyone who may have been involved in Russia’s attack on the United States.

The only other indictment Durham has obtained from his two-plus year investigation? The Times in 2019 reported on a “low-level” FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, who “altered an email that officials used to prepare to seek court approval to renew the wiretap,” on Carter Page, a Trump campaign advisor.

One expert calls the indictment “weak.”

 

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.