A federal appeals court on Thursday
denied a Trump administration request to further delay enlistment of
new transgender service members in the military.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Fourth Circuit is the first appeals court to rule on the
administration's attempts to stay three lower court rulings
prohibiting the government from implementing the president's ban on
transgender troops. A judge has yet to rule in a fourth legal
The ruling comes in a case filed by the
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Stone v. Trump.
The three-judge panel said that it was
rejecting the administration's stay “upon consideration” of
documents filed in the case.
A Justice Department spokesperson said
that the agency “disagreed” with the court's two-page order and
was “evaluating the next steps” but stopped short of committing
to an appeal. The government could appeal their case to the U.S.
The order only covers transgender
enlistments, which are set to start on January 1.
“We are happy that the court saw
through the government’s smokescreen and rejected its request to
further delay the policy allowing transgender people to enlist,”
Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU LGBT & HIV
project, said in a statement. “The military has already developed
comprehensive guidance to prepare for a January 1 start date, and the
government failed to offer any credible reason why transgender people
should be barred from enlisting if they can meet the same rigorous
standards that apply to everyone else.”