The White House still hasn't produced a formal version of the transgender military service ban Trump announced on Twitter, but a group of current service members are not waiting for the White House to produce one.
Lawyers for the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders have filed a lawsuit on behalf of five anonymous transgender service members who say the policy violates their Fourteenth and Fifth Amendment rights.
"The directive to reinstate a ban on open service by transgender people violates both the Equal Protection component of the Fifth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution," says a complaint filed by the five anonymous Jane Does in US District Court in Washington, DC. [...]
[The] suit filed on Wednesday argues there is already a draft policy or de facto policy, stating, "Upon information and belief, the White House outlined a plan to end the active service of transgender servicemembers to be transmitted to the Department of Defense for implementation."
Unless the White House produces a formal policy in the very near future, it's plausible that this lawsuit could be thrown out for a lack of standing. I am a legal layman, but I suspect that may hinge on whether or not the court believes Trump's tweets are "de facto policy." Several high profile lawsuits against regulations drafted by the Obama administration were thrown out because they filed were before the regulations were finalized. There's no doubt that Trump's big mouth may already be having an impact on the lives of transgender service members, but can that be litigated?
The Joint Chiefs of Staff have made it clear that they will not implement a transgender service ban just because Trump tweeted it. If Trump's tweets do not clear the bar for them, it may not for the court either.
In either case, if the White House ever gets around to issuing a formal policy, it can be challenged again.
Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer visited the Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia yesterday where he said "any patriot that wants to serve and meets all the requirements should be able to serve in our military."
The lawsuit filed on behalf of five transgender service members was filed under the Fourth District Court in D.C.