The U.S. Supreme Court is allowing a ban against transgender individuals from serving in the military for now while the legal battle continues in lower courts.
President Donald Trump faced a lot of uproar from critics when he announced the ban in July 2017.
His administration has since tried to implement the policy but it’s been tied up in a fierce legal battle.
The justices overturned a lower court injunction that had kept the plan from being implemented while the legal battle continued.
The administration had hoped the court would agree to hear arguments on an expedited basis. But the most recent decision merely allows the ban to go into effect while the legal battle wages in the lower courts.
Yet the court hinted that the justices might ultimately uphold the restrictions when they do hear the case, according to Bloomberg.
Former President Barack Obama officially allowed transgender individuals to serve openly in the military when he lifted a longstanding prohibition in June 2016.
Those opposed to reinstating the ban argue it would be an unconstitutional violation of the equal protection clause. Supporters argue it will help military leaders to avoid unnecessary and additional challenges.
The Department of Defense issued a 44-page report to the president last year, which looked into the service of trans individuals. The report provided a detailed explanation as to why the new policy was necessary to further American military interests. It argued the decision to lift the ban posed substantial risks to military readiness.
The ban on transgender individuals serving in the armed forces did include some exceptions. People are allowed to continue serving if they began transitioning their gender in a reliance on the Obama policy. The Department of Justice Civil Division argued in a legal brief last year the exceptions included almost every plaintiff challenging the ban.
The administration asked the justices to take the rare step of bypassing the federal appeals courts.
Solicitor General Noel Francisco told the court the issue warranted special fast-track considerations because of its public importance.
Chief Justice John Roberts, alongside Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, decided to allow the restrictions to go forward while the legal battle continues.
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.
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