It's been a month since Trump arbitrarily tweeted that he would ban transgender people from serving in the military, but we still haven't seen an official policy delivered to the Pentagon.
That may be about to change. Maybe. The Wall Street Journal reported last night that a memo drafted by the White House will be delivered "in the coming days," but last night the Pentagon said it still hasn't received anything.
It is not clear if the memo is finalized. The Pentagon said in a statement Wednesday night that it "has not received formal guidance from the White House as a follow-up to the Commander-in-Chief's announcement on military service by transgender personnel."
"The (Defense) Department continues to focus on our mission of defending our nation and ongoing operations against our foes, while ensuring all service members are treated with respect," the statement read.
We won't know the full details until an official policy is actually unveiled, but the Wall Street Journal reported that the policy will prohibit transgender people from enlisting and will give the secretary of defense the discretion to remove transgender service members if deemed necessary for logistical reasons.
I figured the ban would be poorly written and unjustified, making it legally suspect, and this bolsters my opinion. Prohibiting transgender people from enlisting may be unconstitutional and giving the secretary of defense this kind of vague discretion seems wildly open to interpretation and enforcement. It's so vague you could drive a tank through it.
The new policy will also reportedly prohibit the military from providing transgender-specific health care and that may also be unconstitutional. As we've pointed out before, the military spends far more money on boner bills than transgender health care.
I don't know if it's even possible to write a transgender ban that is legally sound because the entire concept is not constitutionally sound. The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment either means something or it doesn't. We know many conservatives would love to repeal the Fourteenth Amendment, but that's not going to happen.
It should be said that even if this policy is implemented, that won't stop transgender people from enlisting just as Don't Ask Don't Tell did not stop gay people from enlisting. They'll simply have to hide it.