Judge: Trump's ban on transgender troops on hold until trial - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Judge: Trump's ban on transgender troops on hold until trial

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson). FILE - In this March 27, 2018, file photo, plaintiffs Cathrine Schmid, second left, and Conner Callahan, second right, listens with supporters during a news conference in front of a federal courthouse following a hearing in ... (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson). FILE - In this March 27, 2018, file photo, plaintiffs Cathrine Schmid, second left, and Conner Callahan, second right, listens with supporters during a news conference in front of a federal courthouse following a hearing in ...

By GENE JOHNSON
Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) - A U.S. judge in Seattle has ordered President Donald Trump not to ban transgender troops from serving in the military, saying it's unclear whether recent changes to his administration's policy are constitutional.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman was one of four judges nationwide who blocked Trump late last year from overturning an Obama-era directive allowing transgender troops to serve openly. The Justice Department asked her to dissolve that ruling, citing changes that would allow transgender troops to serve in limited cases.

Because the changes were announced just last month, the sides had not had time to argue whether the policy is discriminatory or whether the military is entitled to set its own policy, given its expertise in what's needed for national defense, Pechman said in an order Friday. She told the parties to prepare for trial.

"Because transgender people have long been subjected to systemic oppression and forced to live in silence, they are a protected class," Pechman wrote. "Therefore, any attempt to exclude them from military service will be looked at with the highest level of care."

She also said the government must show that the ban "was sincerely motivated by compelling interests, rather than by prejudice or stereotype, and that it is narrowly tailored to achieve those interests."

The Pentagon lifted its longstanding ban on transgender troops in 2016. Trump took defense leaders by surprise last July, when he tweeted that the U.S. government would not allow transgender members to serve.

It triggered a number of lawsuits, and federal judges in Seattle; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; and Riverside, California, blocked Trump from rescinding former President Barack Obama's policy. The Pentagon began allowing transgender people to serve and enlist on Jan. 1.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also launched a review on the issue, forwarding recommendations to Trump in February. Trump issued a memo March 23 giving the Pentagon the go-ahead to implement a policy that would block transgender people from serving in many cases.

Transgender people who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria or have a history of the condition would be banned, with some exceptions. Those who can show they have been stable for 36 months would be allowed to serve if they adhere to the standards for their "biological sex."

Anyone who has transitioned to their preferred gender or who needs medical treatment to do so would be presumed ineligible for service, though they could seek individual waivers allowing them to serve.

Under Pechman's ruling, that policy can't take effect. She said the changes didn't truly amount to a new policy but "instead threaten the very same violations" that led her and other judges to block the ban.

Her ruling came in a challenge brought by several transgender troops or prospective troops, as well as civil rights organizations including Lambda Legal. The state of Washington is also a plaintiff.

"The court's ruling means President Trump's hastily conceived and discriminatory ban now has to stand up to the court's most rigorous standard of review," Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement Sunday night. "I am confident the ban will not withstand that."

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • InternationalMore>>

  • Road to N. Korea's denuclearization is littered with failure

    Road to N. Korea's denuclearization is littered with failure

    Saturday, April 21 2018 9:44 PM EDT2018-04-22 01:44:28 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 4:35 AM EDT2018-04-22 08:35:15 GMT
    (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool, File). FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2018 file photo, Kim Yo Jong, left, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in P...(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool, File). FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2018 file photo, Kim Yo Jong, left, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in P...

    A look at previous nuclear negotiations with North Korea and how the currently planned talks between Seoul, Pyongyang and Washington took shape.

    A look at previous nuclear negotiations with North Korea and how the currently planned talks between Seoul, Pyongyang and Washington took shape.

  • Journalist among over 2 dozen killed in Nicaragua unrest

    Journalist among over 2 dozen killed in Nicaragua unrest

    Sunday, April 22 2018 12:34 AM EDT2018-04-22 04:34:46 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 4:35 AM EDT2018-04-22 08:35:08 GMT
    (AP Photo/Alfredo Zuniga). Anti-government protesters pull down a statue that is emblematic of the government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, at the Jean Paul Jennie round-about in Managua, Nicaragua, Saturday, April 21, 2018. Ortega said Saturd...(AP Photo/Alfredo Zuniga). Anti-government protesters pull down a statue that is emblematic of the government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, at the Jean Paul Jennie round-about in Managua, Nicaragua, Saturday, April 21, 2018. Ortega said Saturd...
    Journalist Angel Gahona is among more than people killed in unrest in Nicaragua over social security reforms planned by President Daniel Ortega's government.
    Journalist Angel Gahona is among more than people killed in unrest in Nicaragua over social security reforms planned by President Daniel Ortega's government.
  • World's oldest person dies in Japan at age of 117

    World's oldest person dies in Japan at age of 117

    Saturday, April 21 2018 8:34 PM EDT2018-04-22 00:34:25 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 4:34 AM EDT2018-04-22 08:34:59 GMT

    The world's oldest person has died in southern Japan at the age of 117.

    The world's oldest person has died in southern Japan at the age of 117.

  • Government shutdown endNational politicsMore>>

  • Vive la France: Trump hosts glitzy White House state dinner

    Vive la France: Trump hosts glitzy White House state dinner

    Saturday, April 21 2018 8:34 AM EDT2018-04-21 12:34:07 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 4:36 AM EDT2018-04-22 08:36:37 GMT
    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon). The U.S., and French flags are displayed on the Eisenhower Executive Office Building as seen through the portico of the West Wing of the White House, Friday, April 20, 2018, in Washington. President Donald Trump plans to celebr...(AP Photo/Alex Brandon). The U.S., and French flags are displayed on the Eisenhower Executive Office Building as seen through the portico of the West Wing of the White House, Friday, April 20, 2018, in Washington. President Donald Trump plans to celebr...
    Vive le France: President Donald Trump to host his first big social event, a state dinner for President Emmanuel Macron.
    Vive le France: President Donald Trump to host his first big social event, a state dinner for President Emmanuel Macron.
  • Laughter, tears as former first lady Barbara Bush remembered

    Laughter, tears as former first lady Barbara Bush remembered

    Saturday, April 21 2018 12:04 AM EDT2018-04-21 04:04:04 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 4:36 AM EDT2018-04-22 08:36:26 GMT
    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci). Mourners pause as former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush lies in repose during the visitation of former first lady Barbara Bush at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Friday, April 20, 2018, in Houston.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci). Mourners pause as former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush lies in repose during the visitation of former first lady Barbara Bush at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Friday, April 20, 2018, in Houston.

    As the outpouring of tributes continues for Barbara Bush, the general public can pay its respects to the former first lady.

    As the outpouring of tributes continues for Barbara Bush, the general public can pay its respects to the former first lady.

  • Trump says he doesn't think personal lawyer will 'flip'

    Trump says he doesn't think personal lawyer will 'flip'

    Saturday, April 21 2018 9:14 AM EDT2018-04-21 13:14:09 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 4:36 AM EDT2018-04-22 08:36:14 GMT
    (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File). FILE - In a Monday, April 16, 2018, file photo, Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, center, leaves federal court, in New York. Federal prosecutors said they can give President Donald Trump's person...(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File). FILE - In a Monday, April 16, 2018, file photo, Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, center, leaves federal court, in New York. Federal prosecutors said they can give President Donald Trump's person...

    President Donald Trump says he doesn't expect personal lawyer Michael Cohen to "flip" as the government investigates Cohen's business dealings.

    President Donald Trump says he doesn't expect personal lawyer Michael Cohen to "flip" as the government investigates Cohen's business dealings.

  • LGBT rights, religion and lawMore>>

  • China's Weibo site backtracks on gay censorship after outcry

    China's Weibo site backtracks on gay censorship after outcry

    Monday, April 16 2018 10:30 PM EDT2018-04-17 02:30:44 GMT
    Tuesday, April 17 2018 6:30 AM EDT2018-04-17 10:30:40 GMT
    (Jiangsu Tongtian Volunteer Group via AP). In this April 15, 2018 photo released by Jiangsu Tongtian Volunteer Group, more than 20,000 people take part in a "Rainbow Marathon," organized months earlier, to raise awareness of LGBT issues in Nanjing in e...(Jiangsu Tongtian Volunteer Group via AP). In this April 15, 2018 photo released by Jiangsu Tongtian Volunteer Group, more than 20,000 people take part in a "Rainbow Marathon," organized months earlier, to raise awareness of LGBT issues in Nanjing in e...
    One of China's top social networking sites has announced that it will no longer be "cleaning up" content related to homosexuality following strong online opposition to the plan.
    One of China's top social networking sites has announced that it will no longer be "cleaning up" content related to homosexuality following strong online opposition to the plan.
  • Judge: Trump's ban on transgender troops on hold until trial

    Judge: Trump's ban on transgender troops on hold until trial

    Monday, April 16 2018 4:55 PM EDT2018-04-16 20:55:27 GMT
    Monday, April 16 2018 5:20 PM EDT2018-04-16 21:20:25 GMT
    (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson). FILE - In this March 27, 2018, file photo, plaintiffs Cathrine Schmid, second left, and Conner Callahan, second right, listens with supporters during a news conference in front of a federal courthouse following a hearing in ...(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson). FILE - In this March 27, 2018, file photo, plaintiffs Cathrine Schmid, second left, and Conner Callahan, second right, listens with supporters during a news conference in front of a federal courthouse following a hearing in ...
    A U.S. judge in Seattle has ordered President Donald Trump not to ban transgender troops from serving in the military.
    A U.S. judge in Seattle has ordered President Donald Trump not to ban transgender troops from serving in the military.
  • Gay rights lawyer immolates self in NYC in ecology protest

    Gay rights lawyer immolates self in NYC in ecology protest

    Saturday, April 14 2018 8:37 PM EDT2018-04-15 00:37:11 GMT
    Sunday, April 15 2018 11:48 AM EDT2018-04-15 15:48:21 GMT
    A well-known gay rights lawyer and environmental advocate has burned himself to death in a grisly protest against ecological destruction.
    A well-known gay rights lawyer and environmental advocate has burned himself to death in a grisly protest against ecological destruction.
Powered by Frankly