The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to allow the Trump administration to enforce its ban on transgender troops while litigation over the ban continues, granting the administration a stay. The high court split 5-4 in allowing the plan to take effect, with the court's five conservatives greenlighting it and its four liberal members saying they would not have.
A U.S. District Court judge had issued an injunction in December 2017 blocking the ban, but the Supreme Court's stay stops that ruling from taking effect for now. The case is still pending in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court will not weigh in on the constitutionality of the ban itself until after that ruling.
"As always, we treat all transgender persons with respect and dignity," Lt. Col. Carla Gleason said in a statement. "DoD's proposed policy is NOT a ban on service by transgender persons. It is critical that DoD be permitted to implement personnel policies that it determines are necessary to ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world. DoD's proposed policy is based on professional military judgment and will ensure that the U.S. Armed Forces remain the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world."
Until a few years ago service members could be discharged from the military for being transgender. That changed under President Barack Obama. The military announced in 2016 that transgender individuals already serving in the military would be allowed to serve openly. And the military set July 1, 2017 as the date when transgender individuals would be allowed to enlist.
But after President Donald Trump took office, the administration delayed the enlistment date, saying the issue needed further study. While that study was ongoing, Mr. Trump announced via tweet in July 2017 that transgender individuals would be banned from the military, surprising many. LGBTQ advocacy groups filed a lawsuit in Seattle in 2017 challenging the constitutionality of the ban.
— CBS News' Steven Portnoy contributed to this report