The Trump administration Wednesday came out with its first defense against the lawsuits challenging its transgender military ban. The argument? You can’t sue because it doesn’t actually exist yet.
The Justice Department submitted a 44-page brief to a federal court late Wednesday evening, asking the judge to dismiss lawsuits filed in August by six transgender soldiers because they were “premature several times over.” DOJ attorneys also argued that legal action couldn’t be taken on “speculative harms” that transgender servicemembers could incur in the future.
“They will not suffer a hardship if the Court withholds consideration until after the policies challenged in this case are implemented and are found to impact Plaintiffs,” the brief said.
“The Court should therefore dismiss this case for the lack of jurisdiction.”
Trump tweeted in July that the “United States Government will not accept or allow……Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”
At the end of August, Trump signed a presidential memorandum, which banned the recruitment of transgender individuals in the armed forces, as well as the use of Defense Department resources for transgender individuals’ medical needs.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis issued an interim guidance in August, allowing transgender soldiers currently in the military to continue to serve pending a six-month study and a formal policy was put in place.
And though Trump administration attorneys argued that no harm had actually been done yet and hence, no basis to sue, the plaintiffs argued otherwise.
One plaintiff said they were “scheduled to undergo surgery in September of this year, but as a result of the directive, her medical treatment has been halted,” according to a motion filed in August. Another plaintiff said him and his wife were planning on having kids, but the financial uncertainty of the ban is “forcing them to place their future family on hold indefinitely.”
The lawsuits filed by these plaintiffs is one of several filed against the Trump administration for the ban. The National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders sued together in August on behalf of five transgender servicemembers.