By ADMIR DURAKOVIC
Monday Oct. 30, 2017 was a rough day for Donald Trump. Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced charges against three of Trump’s campaign aides. Amidst the hysteria surrounding the Mueller investigation, an important piece of news was swept under the rug.
On July 26, Trump infamously tweeted, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts… the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”
Trump then provided an insight into his thought process behind the decision in another tweet saying, “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgenders in the military would entail.”
A federal judge on Oct. 30 overruled President Trump’s plans to exclude transgender people from military service. Trump’s major reasons for the transgender ban were the excessive costs and the internal disruption in the military. However, according to research done by the RAND corporation, an American nonprofit global policy institution that offers research and analysis to the United States Armed Forces, the estimated cost of healthcare for transgender personnel would add “between $2.4 million and $8.4 million per year.”
A cost that looks inferior when compared to the total costs of Trump’s personal vacations out of the White House.
“U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that the transgender service members who had sued over Trump’s policy were likely to win their lawsuit. She directed a return to the situation that existed before Trump announced his new policy this summer, saying, “the administration had provided no solid evidence for why a ban should be implemented,” according to the Associated Press.
The lawsuit against the Trump administration was led in August by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) on behalf of eight transgender individuals, including service members in the Air Force, Coast Guard and the Army, as well as students at the U.S. Naval Academy and in the ROTC program at the University of New Haven.
According to the Associated Press, Kollar- Kotelly said the plaintiffs clearly established that they would be harmed by the administration’s directives. She also contended that the plaintiffs were likely to prevail in arguing that the directives were unconstitutionally discriminatory, targeting transgender people without evidence that their service caused substantial problems for the military. Kollar- Kotelly wrote that “[the directives] do not appear to be supported by any facts.”
Trump’s motives behind announcing the ban of transgender militants came as a surprise three months ago. Besides the weak supporting arguments he made back then, nothing else of real substance has appeared to support his stance. While his administration may still try to have the ban reinstated, the chances of that happening are looking slim, and for good reason. The federal courts are realizing how unconstitutional Trump’s plan and statement are. For his administration to appeal Kollar-Kotelly its likely that the case would go all the way to the supreme court and uphold Kollar-Kotelly’s decision.
In our political structure where we operate on a system of separation of powers, the judicial branch has done well to check the unconstitutional advances of the executive branch. Shannon Minter, one of the attorneys handling the lawsuit, said the ruling was a great relief to his clients. “Their lives have been devastated since Trump first tweeted he was reinstating the ban. They are now able to serve on equal terms with everyone else.”