President Trump’s already experiencing a bad week with news that former campaign chair Paul Manafort (along with an associate) was indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on 12 counts relating to the Russia probe. Now, a federal court has put the brakes on the president’s efforts to change military policy with his ban on transgender people in service.
The Associated Press reports that the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has issued a ruling with few details released so far. However, the judge believes that existing lawsuits against Trump’s attempted policy change are likely to prevail, so the portions of Trump’s order about retention of military personnel are now duly blocked by the court:
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote Monday that transgender members of the military who had sued over the change were likely to win their lawsuit and barred the Trump administration from reversing course.
The lawsuits in question involve at least five anonymous service members, who brought up the concerns of up to 11,000 transgender troops on active-duty and within the reserves. While Trump’s order gave the Pentagon six months to iron out the logistics of his policy, these service members’ careers hung in the balance. CNN adds further word from the court that the plantiffs “have established that they will be injured by these directives, due both to the inherent inequality they impose, and the risk of discharge and denial of accession that they engender.”
Trump officially signed the relevant executive order in August, one full month after he had unilaterally tweet-announced the policy because he believes that “tremendous medical costs and disruption” incurred by transgender service members will hinder the U.S. from winning (or something like that). In doing so, Trump blindsided military leaders, who refused to comply with Trump’s tweets until the official order arrived. And at least for now, it looks like the Pentagon won’t have to comply with Trump’s order at all.