The Department of Justice (DOJ) has
asserted executive privilege in refusing to identify the military
experts President Donald Trump consulted before announcing his ban on
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Marsha
Pechman ordered the government to hand over the names by 8PM EST.
“Defendants respectfully disagree
[that the information is not subject to executive privilege] and
adhere to their position that judicial deference to executive
decisions about the composition of the military is not dependent upon
judicial review of the deliberative process that preceded the
decisions at issue,” the DOJ said in a 5-page filing. “In
addition, defendants do not waive any executive privileges simply by
arguing for judicial deference to the President’s military
In July, Trump tweeted his call for a
complete ban on transgender troops. Roughly a month later, the White
House issued guidance on implementing Trump's ban, in which Trump
claimed that the Obama administration “failed to identity a
sufficient basis” to end the military ban rolled back in June,
2016, and ordered the Pentagon to reinstate the policy, arguing that
transgender people are a “disruption” to the military.
LGBT groups challenging the ban in
court have blocked its implementation.
Pechman is overseeing a challenge filed
by OutServe-SLDN and Lambda Legal in Washington state.
Tara Borelli of Lambda Legal said that
the government “isn't willing to pull back the curtain, because
there's nothing behind it.”
“As the government well understands,
this means that it will not be able to rely on that information to
help defend the ban, which exposes a fatal flaw in their position:
There is no justification for discrimination,” Borelli