Second federal judge blocks Trump's transgender military ban

Second federal judge blocks Trump's transgender military ban

Another federal judge has halted a proposed transgender military ban, expanding on an initial ruling against the policy by President Donald Trump's administration.

U.S. District Court Judge Marvin J. Garbis on Tuesday afternoon became the second judge to block Trump's attempt to ban transgender service members. She said a group of transgender military members are likely to win their suit against the Trump administration.

Garbis, appointed to the federal bench by former Republican president George Bush in 1989, went further than the Washington judge by also blocking the government's directive to stop funding sex-reassignment surgery while the case moves forward, as some of the plaintiffs would be impacted by the prohibition.

Trump in July sent out three tweets decreeing that transgender troops could not serve "in any capacity", citing "tremendous" medical costs and disruption.

The preliminary injunction prohibits the president's policies until the lawsuit is resolved.

The preliminary injunction means that Trump can not force the military to kick out trans men and women now serving, the military can not prohibit transition-related surgery for those who are already serving and the military can not keep openly trans people from enlisting. That policy was changed a year ago under President Barack Obama.

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The judge agreed with the government that the courts should generally defer to the president and Congress when it comes to military affairs. In late October a different federal judge blocked most of Trump's ban.

Garbis also wrote that the "capricious, arbitrary, and unqualified tweet of new policy does not trump the methodical and systematic review by military stakeholders".

Garbis was particularly unmoved by the Justice Department's argument that the "President did not actually announce a policy decision" when he handed down the ban on Twitter in July.

One recent study by the Rand Corp. put the number on active duty at about 2,500, while another from the Williams Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law estimated that there were 15,500 on active duty, in the National Guard and in the reserves.

"An unexpected announcement by the President and commander in chief of the United States via Twitter that "the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military" certainly can be considered shocking under the circumstances", Garbis wrote, after embedding screen shots of the tweets pages earlier.

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