The federal judge who has put a temporary halt on the Trump administration’s ban on transgenders serving in the military could ultimately inflict damage on transgender recruits, contends a Family Research Council expert.
In October, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly blocked the ban from taking effect while a lawsuit against it works its way through court. On Monday, she ruled there was no compelling reason to for the military to postpone enlistment of transgenders.
Family Research Council Senior Fellow Peter Sprigg says that by blocking Trump’s order until the legal dispute is resolved, Kollar-Kotelly could be the one inflicting damage on transgenders seeking to serve in the military.
“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 insists 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.
Sprigg said, however, he wasn’t “terribly surprised” by the judge’s decision, “given the obvious bias on the issue that she has shown.”
“She has simply shown herself determined to impose her will upon the executive branch and not show any respect for the constitutional prerogatives that the president and the Defense Department have for making decisions regarding military personnel policy,” said Sprigg.
According to the Washington Post, Kollar-Kotelly said she “is not persuaded that defendants will be irreparably injured” by mandating that the Defense Department begin accepting applications on Jan. 1.
“With only a brief hiatus, defendants have had the opportunity to prepare for the accession of transgender individuals into the military for nearly one and a half years,” the judge added.
Sprigg said Kollar-Kotelly’s legal reasoning seems backwards when it comes to the burden of proof.
“She apparently said that there’s no emergency for the government, that it’s not going to cause any irreparable harm to the military if they begin this process,” he noted.
“The standard is supposed to be the question, ‘Is there irreparable harm to the plaintiffs?’ I think that it hasn’t been demonstrated that there will be irreparable harm, particularly with respect to this issue of new recruits,” said Sprigg.
Without the policy being implemented, Sprigg says no plaintiff could be suffering irreparable harm.
“Where is the irreparable harm if someone who has not joined the military perhaps has to delay for three more months?” asked Sprigg.
In a brief statement, the Justice Department disagreed with the decision and said it was considering which legal steps to take next.
Sprigg hopes the DOJ will appeal soon to a higher court that at least would consider delaying the enlistment of transgenders.
With the Army suggesting and then scrapping an effort to allow recruits with some history of mental illness to enlist, the military revealed that it is struggling to meet recruitment goals.
“Perhaps if we moved away from … politically correct social engineering, then we would have an uptick in our overall recruiting picture,” said Sprigg.