Along with Trump's morally depraved decision to pardon birther posse sheriff Joe Arpaio for contempt of federal court, the White House tried to bury the transgender military surface ban on Friday night during the imminent landfall of Hurricane Harvey.
Legal advocates spent the weekend considering their options and at least two have now filed lawsuits against the ban.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit in Maryland under the jurisdiction of the Fourth District Court of Appeals, alleging that it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The federal lawsuit , Stone v. Trump, was filed in Maryland on Monday by the ACLU of Maryland on behalf of Petty Officer First Class Brock Stone, an 11-year Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan, and several other transgender members of the Navy, Army, Air Force and Marines. [...]
The lawsuit says Trump's policy violates the equal protection rights of transgender service members who now have "grave reason to fear for their careers."
The ACLU's lawsuit cites Trump's tweets and various news reports to claim that the White House did not actually weigh the cost or supposed "burden" of accommodating transgender military service members.
For example, Trump tweeted that he consulted "the Generals," but the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Department of Defense had no idea he was going to announce such a thing. In reality, the Joint Chiefs were uncharacteristically defiant of Trump's arbitrary announcement.
The lawsuit also cites news reports that Trump announced the transgender service ban because he wanted to secure funding for his fantasy border wall. As you may recall, reports indicated that some members of the House Freedom Caucus threatened to vote against a "minibus" security funding bill if it didn't include a ban on transgender military service. I personally believe they were bluffing, but there is every indication that Trump bought it.
Meanwhile, Lambda Legal and OutServe have filed a separate lawsuit on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign in Washington state under the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed the lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The individual plaintiffs, all of whom are transgender, include: Ryan Karnoski, a 22-year-old Seattle man who currently works as a social worker and wishes to become an officer doing social work for the military; Staff Sergeant Cathrine (“Katie”) Schmid, a 33-year-old woman and 12-year member of the U.S. Army currently serving in Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington, who has applied to become an Army Warrant Officer; and Drew Layne, a high-school student from Corpus Christi, Texas, who is about to turn 17 and, with parental support, wants to join the Air Force. HRC and Gender Justice League have joined the lawsuit on behalf of their transgender members who are harmed by the ban.
I hestitate to sit here and say this will be a slam dunk, but there will come a time when the Trump regime is asked to justify the ban in court and we already know what the cost of providing transgender-specific health care to military service members is. It's far less than the cost of boner pills.
Furthermore, if there are any cases of transgender service members actually compromising military "readiness," we haven't heard any of them. I highly doubt there are any such cases that actually implicate gender identity as the root cause of disruption.
For the government to justify a constitutionally-dubious policy like this, they must cite extraordinary evidence in court, but we as far as we know they have no evidence at all let alone extraordinary evidence.