Following several defeats and half a dozen other pending lawsuits, the Trump regime has decided not to appeal the recent ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in D.C. denying a request for an emergency stay of a lower district court ruling against Trump's transgender service ban.
This means that, as of yesterday, transgender Americans were free to enlist in the military. But this may not be the end of the story. Officials say they may eventually file an appeal for a stay.
Two federal appeals courts, one in Washington and one in Virginia, last week rejected the administration’s request to put on hold orders by lower court judges requiring the military to begin accepting transgender recruits on Jan. 1.
A Justice Department official said the administration will not challenge those rulings.
“The Department of Defense has announced that it will be releasing an independent study of these issues in the coming weeks. So rather than litigate this interim appeal before that occurs, the administration has decided to wait for DOD’s study and will continue to defend the president’s lawful authority in District Court in the meantime,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Department of Defense didn't just make this announcement; we've known this study was coming for a very long time. The Trump regime could have waited for the results of the study to begin with, but that would not have placated the religious fundamentalists buzzing around the oval office or Trump's own desire to be praised by them.
As I'm sure you recall, Trump announced his transgender service ban in a tweet last summer which the Department of Defense refused to follow until it was actually handed an official order in the fall. Trump's tweet caught the White House and the Pentagon off guard because the independent study was ongoing at the time and the military was already preparing to accept transgender recruits. Those preparations during the Obama administration.
Regardless of what the Trump regime does in the near future, I believe legal challenges to any potential ban will be successful. The only way the Supreme Court will rule in favor of a transgender ban is if the court decides transgender people are not really people guaranteed equal protection under the law. That would have far-reaching consequences that go far beyond military service and, as conservative as the court may presently be, I have a hard time seeing Chief Justice Roberts voting that way. It feels like a lifetime ago, but the court was as conservative as it currently is when the federal ban on gay marriage was overturned for similar reasons.
I necessarily presume every single federal court that examines the issue before it reaches the Supreme Court will rule against Trump's ban. They have so far.