A federal appeals court on Friday ordered a lower court judge to reconsider her ruling against U.S. President Donald Trump's restrictions on transgender people serving in the military, a policy that had already been allowed to go into effect by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals set aside a decision by a federal judge in Seattle, Washington, which said Trump's policy likely violated the constitutional rights of transgender recruits and service members.
The three-judge appeals court panel said a request by the administration to lift an injunction issued by U.S. Judge Marsha Pechman must be reconsidered because an outright ban on transgender troops that Trump had announced in 2017 had been revised by a 2018 policy crafted by then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. The new policy was "significantly different," the panel said.
In January, the Supreme Court lifted lower court injunctions blocking the transgender policy on constitutional grounds from going into effect while challenges to its legality continued in lower courts.
The high court did not resolve the underlying question of the legality of the Republican president’s plan, which reversed the landmark 2016 policy of his Democratic predecessor, President Barack Obama, to let transgender people serve openly in the armed forces for the first time and to receive medical care to transition genders.