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Defense

Trump administration asks Supreme Court to hear case on transgender military ban

Key Points
  • The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to fast-track cases on the president's decision to prevent certain transgender people from serving in the military.
  • Lower courts had blocked the administration from implementing the policy.
The United States Supreme Court Building
Geoff Livingston | Moment | Getty Images

The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to fast-track cases on the president's decision to prevent certain transgender people from serving in the military.

Lower courts had blocked the administration from implementing the policy. The administration asked the court on Friday to take up three cases on the issue.

Trump announced the ban on Twitter in July 2017.


In August 2017, Trump signed a memo directing the military not to accept transgender recruits and to stop using government money for sex-reassignment procedures, according to Reuters. A White House official did not specify whether transgender people who are currently active in the military could continue to serve.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in one of the cases in October but hasn't ruled.

The administration had warned that it would ask the high court to step in if the appeals court didn't rule before Friday. The administration wants the Supreme Court to be able to rule on the issue before the summer.

The justices don't typically take cases before federal appeals courts rule on them.

In 2016, then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter ended the ban on transgender people serving in the military. The RAND Corporation estimated there are 1,320 to 6,630 transgender people in active military service in a 2016 report.

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Key Points
  • The Department of Health and Human Services is proposing a legal change that will narrow the definition of gender, according to The New York Times.
  • The draft memo would roll back changes made by the Obama administration, and put recognition of transgender men and women at risk.