President Donald Trump’s lawyers asked a court to dismiss a lawsuit against his ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.
The Justice Department called the challenge “premature” in a brief submitted in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Trump first announced a ban on transgender individuals serving in the military in a series of tweets in July.
Trump did not consult with the Joint Chiefs of Staff before making the announcement. Several top officials, including Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, have publicly disagreed with the ban. “Any individual who meets the physical and mental standards” should be allowed to serve in the military, Dunford told the Senate Armed Services Committee late last month.
Trump signed a memo banning transgender individuals from serving on a Friday evening in August as Hurricane Harvey ― then a Category 4 storm ― barreled toward Texas. Human rights groups filed lawsuits against the ban days later.
The legal challenge to Trump’s action is premature because, based on his memo, “no policy change to the status quo will be effective until at least after January 2018,” the government lawyers argue.
Jennifer Levi, Director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project, said the Justice Department’s request to dismiss the lawsuit “reads like pure fiction.”
“It states a fantasy that the president’s announcement of a ban on military service for transgender people has changed nothing,” Levi said. “That’s simply not true. Every day this reckless ban stays in place, our military strength is diminished and our country is less safe for it.”
Read the Justice Department’s filing below: