The US Supreme Court issued an order on Tuesday to reverse a lower court’s injunction preventing the Trump administration from implementing its ban on transgender individuals from serving in the military.
The Trump administration petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the injunction in November. The injunction, issued by the US District Court for the Western District of Washington, prevented the administration from enforcing a new policy that bars transgendered individuals from serving in the armed forces nationwide. Solicitor General Noel Francisco petitioned the Supreme Court to intervene directly on the injunction while the case is being argued before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Francisco argued that the administration required “emergency relief” from the Supreme Court, stating that the nationwide injunction exceeded the jurisdiction of the district court and that such a broad ban prevented the Department of Defense from addressing “an issue of imperative public importance: the authority of the U.S. military to determine who may serve in the nation’s armed forces”. In an unsigned order, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court agreed to overturn the injunction but refused to otherwise intervene in the case until after the appellate court has ruled. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan would have allowed the injunction to remain in place.
The Trump administration first announced its intention to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military in August 2017. Although the ruling Tuesday permits acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to begin implementing the ban, there are three other cases in addition to this one pending before district and circuit courts that have yet to be decided. Most recently the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit permitted the administration to begin enacting the ban.