White House asks top court to block transgender military service

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Dec 14 2018 01:19 PM

WASHINGTON- US President Donald Trump's administration on Thursday urged the nation's highest court to temporarily block the military recruitment of transgender people, pending the outcome of an ongoing legal battle.

The administration said there is "too great a risk to military effectiveness and lethality" to allow transgender people to serve openly -- a policy enacted under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama.

Under the policy, the military was to begin accepting transgender recruits on July 1, 2017 -- but the Trump administration pushed the deadline to January 1, 2018, before deciding to reverse the policy completely.

But the ban on transgender people in the military was repeatedly challenged in court, leading to an updated policy that also contained major restrictions on transgender service, and which was also suspended because of its similarity to the original measure.

The government appealed and asked the Supreme Court to hear the case, and, pending its final decision, on Thursday requested that it suspend the rulings of the lower courts.

Otherwise, "the nationwide injunction would... remain in place for at least another year and likely well into 2020 -- a period too long for the military to be forced to maintain a policy that it has determined, in its professional judgment, to be contrary to the nation's interests," the Trump administration argued.