Two LGBTQ groups plan to sue President Trump over his recently announced plan to ban all transgender people from serving in the military. News of the lawsuit came Wednesday morning, and so far, there has been no response given by the Trump Administration.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) filed a lawsuit on behalf of five transgender service military members. Although the lawsuit may outrage Americans who do not want transgender fighters and the vast costs they impose on the military, this does not mean it is without substance. In particular, these LGBTQ rights groups argue that the Department of Defense’s policy on transgender service members violates the Equal Protection component of the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth Amendment.
According to The Hill, the groups argued in their complaint that “the categorical exclusion of transgender people from military service lacks a rational basis, is arbitrary, and cannot be justified by sufficient federal interests.”
According to President Trump, allowing transgender people in the military jeopardizes the national security interests of the U.S. Government. It is also very costly, wasting over $2 billion according to LifeSite News. Trump also claims that his decision comes after consulting generals and military experts, who allegedly told him that the United States Government should not allow transgender persons to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Recent reports suggest, however, that generals in fact do desire transgender soldiers.
“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail," Trump remarked according to The Hill.
In a statement, the NCLR legal director remarked that transgender people in the military have been harmed by Trump’s announcement, reports The Hill. This harm, believes the director, stems from the fact that transgender people no longer know what will happen for their futures and their families.
He remarks, “The President’s mistreatment of these dedicated troops will serve only to weaken and demoralize our armed forces."
Those who adhere to an originalist constitutional interpretation, such as former Justice Justice Antonin Scalia and current Justice Clarence Thomas, might argue otherwise. Indeed, many conservative justices hold that such a policy does not violate the Equal Protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. There certainly isn't sufficient historical basis, whether it be precedent or original intent of the framers, to support such an interpretation.
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