Justices vote 5-4 on allowing White House to overturn Obama-era policy
The US Supreme Court has allowed Donald Trump to enforce a ban on transgender people from serving in the military.
The court voted 5-4 on the policy to lift injunctions blocking the policy, however the law itself is still being fought out in lower courts.
The Supreme Court “could just have easily maintained the status quo – which allows transgender people to serve – while the case wended its way up the chain”, CNN says.
The policy prohibits “transgender persons who require or have undergone gender transition from serving”, the BBC says.
The Trump administration had been seeking to overturn an Obama-era rule that would have allowed transgender men and women to serve in the military, on the basis of the medical costs associated with transitioning from one gender to another.
The Washington Post reports that it was the five “conservative” justices – Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito Jr., Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh – that voted in favour of allowing the ban to be implemented.
The ruling still allows about 900 transgender individuals already serving openly to remain in the military, and will allow for other who are willing to serve in accordance with their birth gender.
US Department of Justice spokeswoman Kerri Kupec praised the decision by the Supreme Court, saying: “Due to lower courts issuing nationwide injunctions, our military had been forced to maintain a prior policy that poses a risk to military effectiveness and lethality for over a year.”