The Department of Justice has escalated to a higher court the legal fight over whether the U.S. military will be forced to follow a district judge’s agenda and accept transgender recruits starting Jan. 1, arguing to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that denying a delay could “harm military readiness.”
WND reported Monday that Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly refused to drop her temporary halt on President Trump’s directive to the secretary of defense to bar transgendered people from military service.
She was accused by critics of inserting her own agenda into a decision that the Constitution leaves to the president.
The DOJ filed with the appeals court a request that her temporary injunction be suspended while the case runs its course through the court system.
“Without this relief, the military will be forced to implement a significant change to its standards for the composition of the armed forces before it decides how to resolve this issue,” the government explained. “As military leadership has explained, this timetable will place extraordinary burdens on our armed forces and may harm military readiness.”
Liberty Counsel said the issue is that President Obama decided in 2016 to change military policy and allow transgenders by Jan. 1, 2018. But when President Trump reversed the decision in August, federal judges essentially stuck with Obama’s plan.
“Two U.S. district courts, one in the District of Columbia and one in Maryland, blocked enforcement of President Trump’s proposed August 2017 ban on ‘transgender’ persons in the armed services,” the organization explained. “According to the Defense Department, those courts required the branches to begin allowing such recruits to sign up for military service. A third order was issued Monday, by a U.S. District judge who also allowed the state to challenge the ban, stating that Washington has an interest in protecting its residents from discrimination.”
Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, said the court rulings “are not in the best interest of the military and our national security.”
“The duty of military officers is to appropriately lead and prepare their personnel to serve and protect, and they cannot do that when there is confusion, dysfunction and distraction about a person’s gender preference,” he said. “President Trump has tried to refocus the mission to emphasize military readiness and unit cohesion, and the courts have no business telling the commander-in-chief who is eligible to serve.”
Kollar-Kotelly was criticized for acting as the “supreme judicial commander of the military” by usurping the president’s authority when she released her ruling Monday.
An expert on military preparedness contended the judge is off base.
“Acting as ‘supreme judicial commander of the military,’ [Kollar-Kotelly] issued an order directing President Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis to reinstate Obama-era mandates to retain and induct new transgender recruits,” explained Elaine Donnelly, president of the nonpartisan Center for Military Readiness.
“The U.S. Constitution does not grant to any federal judge powers to make policy for the military,” Donnelly wrote. “The judges’ bizarre rulings favoring transgender plaintiffs were issued without any constitutional authorization, and they are a direct affront to the authority of the commander in chief.”
She noted that in addition to Kollar-Kotelly, who “threw all protocols to the wind” in her decision “favoring six transgender plaintiffs,” Marvin Garbus, a Baltimore judge, also ruled Obama was qualified to make decision regarding transgender enlistment but Trump was not.
Garbus even said taxpayers must pay for transgender surgeries.
Donnelly said Trump “has the right, and the responsibility, to resist these activist court rulings and more than may be handed down in the coming months.”
“The commander in chief also has the right, and the responsibility, to restore sound Defense Department polities that were in place long before President Obama took office,” Donnelly said.
WND also reported that Peter Sprigg, an expert with the Family Research Council, said it actually could be the judge who’s damaging transgenders.
“If they are allowed to join the military beginning on January 1 and then the ultimate disposition of the case is that in fact that they can be discharged, you could argue that they would be worse off than if they had never been permitted to join in the first place,” said Sprigg.
He insisted the effort to prevent transgenders from joining the military is entirely a question of readiness.
“The reason for this policy is not because the president or the Defense Department just does not like transgender people. It’s because they have a unique medical condition which make them ineligible for military service because they have limited deployability,” said Sprigg.
“To be fully deployable in military terms, you are supposed to be able to be sent anywhere in the world at any time without the need for specialized medical care. People that are undergoing transgender hormone therapy or have undergone gender reassignment surgery inherently have a need for specialized medical care,” he argued.