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Judge Partially Blocks Trump's Military Transgender Ban

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A federal judge has partially blocked President Donald Trump's order banning transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.

Trump announced the policy in a series of tweets on July 26. On Aug. 26, Trump signed a memo stating that the military must halt plans to recruit transgender personnel and discharge transgender people serving in the military by March 23, 2018, according to CNN.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled on Oct. 30 that the plaintiffs in the case "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," CNN reported.

In his tweet unveiling the policy shift, Trump wrote, "After Consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military."

Kollar-Kotelly took exception not only to what Trump wrote, but the form in which he presented the change. She argued that the decision was presented "without any of the formality or deliberative processes that generally accompany the development and announcement of major policy changes that will gravely affect the lives of many Americans."

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Current and aspiring members of the military have brought due process claims against the government, and Kollar-Kotelly noted in her ruling she believes they are "likely to succeed."

She also noted Trump's reasons for the ban "do not appear to be supported by any facts," Reuters reports.

Lawyers for the Trump administration took issue with the ruling, alleging it was premature since the U.S. Department of Defense is in the process of reviewing the policy. Trump's August memo ordered Defense Secretary James Mattis to present the president with a plan to enforce the policy no later than Feb. 21, 2018.

"Federal courts owe the utmost deference to the political branches in the field of national defense and military affairs, both because the Constitution commits military decisions exclusively to those branches and because courts have less competence to second-guess military decision making," Trump administration lawyers wrote, according to CNN.

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Kollar-Kotelly dismissed the suggestion that the policy review would alter its content.

"The Memorandum unequivocally directs the military to prohibit indefinitely the accession of transgender individuals and to authorize their discharge," she wrote. "This decision has already been made."

The Oct. 30 ruling blocks the implementation of the transgender ban until the appeal brought by the plaintiffs is resolved.

"This is a hugely important decision and confirms that transgender people can and should be able to serve in the military if they are qualified to do so," lead attorney for the plaintiffs Jennifer Levi told Reuters.

Sources: CNN, Reuters / Featured Image: D. Myles Cullen via U.S. Department of Defense/Flickr / Embedded Images: MSC/Koerner via Stiftung Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz, Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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