Second Judge Halts Trump's Transgender Military Ban
By Mila Madison
In a preliminary injunction issued in Baltimore, US District Judge Marvin Garbis has ruled that transgender service members have "demonstrated that they are already suffering harmful consequences" due to President Trump’s imposed military ban. The ruling further expands upon an initial ruling issued last month.
In Tuesday’s 53-page decision, Garbis wrote that the "capricious, arbitrary, and unqualified tweet of new policy does not trump the methodical and systematic review by military stakeholders qualified to understand the ramifications of policy change.”
Garber also wrote that transgender service members are “likely to suffer imminent harm” as a result of the President’s actions:
“Plaintiffs have demonstrated to the Court’s satisfaction that they are likely to suffer imminent harm as a result of the Directives in the President’s Memorandum. They have further demonstrated that they are already suffering harmful consequences such as the cancellation and postponements of surgeries, the stigma of being set apart as inherently unfit, facing the prospect of discharge and inability to commission as an officer, the inability to move forward with long-term medical plans, and the threat to their prospects of obtaining long-term assignments. Waiting until after the Directives have been implemented to challenge their alleged violation of constitutional rights only subjects them to substantial risk of even greater harms.”
Garbis also noted that an “executive action” could unlawfully deprive individuals of their constitutional liberty when it is “so egregious” and “so outrageous” as to “shock the conscience.” In another excerpt he wrote:
“An unexpected announcement by the President and Commander in Chief of the United States via Twitter that “the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military” certainly can be considered shocking under the circumstances.”
Garbis went on to point out that the President’s announcement via Twitter “drew swift criticism from retired generals and admirals, senators, and more than 100 Members of Congress.” In referring to the President's three tweets announcing the ban on July 26th, Garvis wrote:
“A capricious, arbitrary, and unqualified tweet of new policy does not trump the methodical and systematic review by military stakeholders qualified to understand the ramifications of policy changes.”
In October, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly barred the implementation of the ban after ruling that that it violates the rights to due process of the transgender troops who are currently serving. In a filing on Tuesday, the government said it would appeal Kollar-Kotelly’s ruling.
Because of the two preliminary injunctions issued, the President’s proposed ban is currently unenforceable. A U.S. Department of Justice spokesperson, Lauren Ehrsam, said officials disagreed with Garbis' ruling and they are weighing their next steps.