A federal judge in Baltimore on Tuesday
rejected the Trump administration's effort to shield information it
used to implement its ban on transgender troops.
U.S. Magistrate Judge A. David
Copperthite rejected the government's assertion that the
“deliberative process privilege” justified shielding the
In the lawsuit, Stone v. Trump,
the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is representing six current
members of the armed forces who are transgender. The ACLU has argued
that the ban violates constitutional guarantees of equal protection
and substantive due process as well as the statutory right to medical
care that all service members enjoy.
Stone is one of several lawsuits
challenging the ban, which Trump announced on Twitter in July, 2017.
Judges in those cases have blocked the Pentagon from implementing a
Trump has claimed that the Obama
administration “failed to identify a sufficient basis” to end the
military ban – which was rolled back in June, 2016 – and he
ordered the Pentagon to reinstate the policy, arguing that
transgender people are a “disruption” to the military.
Judge Copperthite said that the
documents were critical in understanding the Trump administration's
intent and “whether [the ban] was purely for political and
Joshua Block, senior staff attorney
with the ACLU's LGBT & HIV Project, said that Tuesday's decision
“makes clear that the Trump Administration cannot continue to hide
the true reasons behind its crusade to purge transgender people from
“President Trump banned transgender
people from serving in the military and then ordered the Department
of Defense to come up with pretext to justify that discriminatory
decision,” Block said in a statement. “These brave men and women
should be able to continue serving their country ably and honorably
without being discriminated against by their own commander in chief.”