The Supreme Court announced Tuesday in a 5-4 decree that they would allow the transgender military ban to come into effect, while the lower courts continue to solve the problem. For the sake of clarity, they have not made any pronouncements about the case on the merits (whether the president can and must transplant people to serve in the military), they merely said that the ban could be maintained for the time being.
In July 2017, President Trump announced a ban on transgender people who can serve in the army. The then Minister of Defense Jim Mattis introduced a more detailed policy. When the ban was suspended by lower judges, the Trump administration went straight to the Supreme Court and asked for the ban to come into force as the challenges continued and claimed it was a matter of national security. Today four of the more liberal judges (Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan and Breyer) said that they had not allowed the ban to continue. However, they were overruled by the five other judges and the ban will continue to work through the lower courts.
This ruling of the Supreme Court, although disappointing for many, is a solid statement for two reasons: it is almost always better for the lower courts to deal with cases and to go through the process of profession to work on the knees, instead of go directly to the Supreme Court. Going directly to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the country treats like a nine-seater bank of gods instead of a judiciary trying to decide whether an earlier decision was right.
Secondly, and perhaps even more interestingly, the ban on transgender is really a question of national security, although some media will undoubtedly make it a form of fanaticism. Lieutenant Colonel Carla Gleason, a spokesman for the Pentagon, told CNN:
"As always, we treat all transgender people with respect and dignity. [The Department of Defense’s] Proposed policy is NOT a ban on services provided by transgender people. It is crucial that the DoD is allowed to implement human resources policies that determine that it is necessary to fight the most deadly and effective forces in the world. The proposed DoD policy is based on a professional military judgment and will ensure that US forces remain the most deadly and militant combat unit in the world. "
Like most things, the devil is in the details. A detailed overview of the ban shows that the prohibition itself is not specifically a ban on transgender people, but a prohibition that sets parameters on mental health, so that those who fight in our armed forces can give priority to national security. The prohibition says that it concerns individuals who are diagnosed with gender dysphoria – a very specific, serious psychological disorder that affects a person's mind and seeps through to behavior. Often, persons with gender dysphoria want to transition to the opposite sex.
Some transgender people can still serve in the army if they were diagnosed with "gender dysphoria" prior to the policy's inception date. They can still serve and receive medical treatment. Or service employees who were diagnosed with "sex dysphoria" after joining the army can stay if they do not pass and stay healthy. There are a few other exceptions.
CNN reports, "The policy also states that transgender people who serve sex reassignment or hormonal treatment during their shift would be disqualified due to their inability to be deployed for a period longer than 12 months." During the Obama administration, 937 members were diagnosed with the gender dysphoria and began or completed their transition into the army.
In this light, parameters around those with gender dysphoria and the army are logical: the army is a force intended to protect our nation here and abroad. It is not a petri dish of social sciences, equipped or intended to help individuals who have sex dysphoria or who want Uncle Sam to pay their transitional deficits.
For those who claim that the government (and now even the Supreme Court) deals with a form of intolerance towards transgender people, consider the purpose of the military (national security) and the details of the ban, which has reasonable parameters.
Nicole Russell (@russell_nm) contributes to the Beltway Confidential blog of the Washington Examiner. She is a journalist who previously worked in Republican politics in Minnesota.