President Trump’s controversial ban on transgender people enlisting in the military was partially stonewalled by federal court judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. Kollar-Kotelly issued a preliminary injunction which halted two key provisions of the memo, blocking the ban and ensuring the Pentagon would be prohibited from banning new transgender recruits from enlisting while the issue is being reviewed in court.
While she did not block the section of the memo which disallows government funds from being used for sex reassignment procedures, she made sure to mention in her opinion that the plaintiffs challenging Trump’s memo would ultimately win their case based on their argument that the ban violates their Fifth Amendment rights. Rejecting the Trump Administration’s cost-savings argument, Kollar-Kotelly cited an Obama-era military study which “contradicted” the president.
Justice Department spokesman Lauren Ehrsam told Fox News the Administration disagrees with the decision and is “currently evaluating the next steps.” Alabama Republican Senate Candidate Judge Roy Moore released a fiery statement Monday calling for Kollar-Kotelly’s impeachment. He blasted her for an “unlawful usurpation of power” and “lack of good behavior.” Calling the decision “absolutely ridiculous,” Moore accused her of overstepping her reach and demonstrating “judicial supremacy.”
The order remains in effect only while the case is still being heard in court, leaving the future of the ban up to the US judicial system if the Trump administration appeals the decision. Oral arguments are scheduled for November 9th for the Baltimore lawsuit challenging Trump’s directive, which was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of six transgender service members.
The ACLU has attacked Trump’s memo as an “impulsive” decision and “blatantly unconstitutional.” Judge Kollar-Kotelly obviously invoked this message, calling out President Trump’s tweets on the subject in her opinion. But while everyone can recognize that Trump’s tweets have a habit of creating a political firestorm, hopefully we can trust the courts not to engage in politics but instead to focus on the question of whether the President can make military preparedness decisions unilaterally as Commander in Chief.