116 members of Congress sent a letter Wednesday to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Attorney General William Barr to call for the elimination of the ban on open transgender military service. This follows the June 15, 2020 Supreme Court ruling that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ people from workplace discrimination. Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) spearheaded the initiative.
“This policy is an attack on transgender service members who are risking their lives to serve our country and it should be reversed immediately,” DelBene said.
On April 12, 2019, the Trump administration banned transgender individuals from serving openly in the military. The discriminatory policy denies transgender people the ability to enlist in the military and puts transgender troops at risk of being discharged for living openly. It also denies them transition-related health services.
“In light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling…we urge the Department of Defense (DOD) to immediately update its policies to eliminate the ban on open transgender military service,” lawmakers wrote in the letter. “Additionally, to prevent further harm to transgender service members, we urge the DOD to instruct the Department of Justice (DOJ) to negotiate the end to litigation challenging the ban.”
“It’s past time for the Trump administration to end its ban on transgender troops serving openly,” said Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “The policy is hateful and discriminatory, and puts at risk our country’s national security by purging brave transgender people from the military despite their honorable service to the American people. The administration must move quickly to right this wrong and protect transgender members of the military.”
“It’s crucial that the Department of Defense remove this unconstitutional transgender military ban and ensure any qualified patriot is able to serve,” said Modern Military Association of America Interim Executive Director Jennifer Dane. “Thousands of transgender service members have already more than proven themselves with honor and distinction, and this discriminatory barrier that has nothing to do with their ability to accomplish the mission must be taken down. We are thankful for Congresswoman Suzan DelBene’s leadership, and we urge the Department of Defense to take swift action.”
The transgender service ban was put in place against the recommendations of several former Surgeons General. Additionally, the country’s preeminent health care organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Medical Association, have all affirmed that transgender people can competently serve in the military.
The letter was signed by Representatives Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (NC-12), Colin Allred (TX-32), Karen Bass (CA-37), Ami Bera, M.D. (CA-07), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-At-large), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Salud O. Carbajal (CA-24), Ed Case (HI-01), Sean Casten (IL-06),
A copy of the letter can be found here.
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Pelosi to Transmit Impeachment Article to Senate Monday – Triggering Trial of Trump to Start Next Week
Speaker Nancy Pelosi will transmit the House’s Article of Impeachment against Donald Trump for the incitement of the January 6 insurrection to the Senate on Monday. Once the Senate has received the Article it is constitutionally bound to take it up immediately.
On Thursday Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said his conference would be comfortable with waiting two weeks before beginning the trial of the former president, Donald J. Trump. Speaker Pelosi’s answer to McConnell, in action if not words, was no.
Axios adds that the “Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1 p.m. the day after the article is transmitted.”
Those “ceremonial aspects” of the trial would begin Tuesday, CNN’s Manu Raju reports. “The train is in motion,” he says.
NEWS: Schumer says @SpeakerPelosi has told him the article of impeachment against Trump will be delivered to the Senate on Monday, triggering the start of a trial.
— Nicholas Fandos (@npfandos) January 22, 2021
Fauci: Trump’s Coronavirus Lies ‘Very Likely’ Cost Lives
Dr. Anthony Fauci says the coronavirus misinformation now-former President Donald Trump spread for nearly a year “very likely” cost American lives.
Asked point-blank by CNN’s John Berman Friday morning if Trump’s “lack of candor” and “lack of facts” about COVID-19 “cost lives,” Fauci replied, “You know it very likely did.”
Ever the diplomat, the nation’s top infectious diseases specialist immediately added, “You know I don’t want that to be a soundbite.”
He also accused Trump of going down “paths that are not based on any science at all,” calling Trump’s wild forays into fake “cures” like hydroxychloroquine, “not helpful at all and particularly when you’re in the situation of almost being in a crisis.”
“When you start talking about things that make no sense medically and no sense scientifically that clearly is not helpful,” Fauci said.
JUST NOW: “It very likely did.”
— John Berman (@JohnBerman) January 22, 2021
Federalist Society Co-Founder and 150 Legal Scholars Say Trump Can Be Still Convicted in Senate Trial: Report
One tactic Republicans have been using to avoid holding former President Donald Trump accountable for his role in the deadly insurrection by his supporters crumbled on Thursday under scrutiny from legal experts.
Politico reported that more than 150 legal scholars have signed a letter stating that Trump can still be convicted in an impeachment trial even though he is no longer president.
“The House impeached Trump last week, for the second time, in a 232-197 vote for “incitement of insurrection” following the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob that left five people dead. As the impeachment process moves into its next phase in the Senate, the signatories of the letter are seeking to counter an argument that has been gaining steam among some Republican senators: that it would be unconstitutional for the Senate to hold an impeachment trial for Trump now that he is a private citizen,” the report explained.
In the letter, the signatories noted their diverse legal viewpoints. “We differ from one another in our politics, and we also differ from one another on issues of constitutional interpretation,” the signatories wrote. “But despite our differences, our carefully considered views of the law lead all of us to agree that the Constitution permits the impeachment, conviction, and disqualification of former officers, including presidents.”
“Impeachment is the exclusive constitutional means for removing a president (or other officer) before his or her term expires,” the attorneys wrote. “But nothing in the provision authorizing impeachment-for-removal limits impeachment to situations where it accomplishes removal from office. Indeed, such a reading would thwart and potentially nullify a vital aspect of the impeachment power: the power of the Senate to impose disqualification from future office as a penalty for conviction.”
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