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Doe v. Trump

Case Challenging Trump's Directive Banning Military Service for Transgender Americans

Key Date: April 12, 2019
Status: Awaiting Further Action
Legal Team: GLAD & NCLR
Type: Other LGBT Litigation

Case Overview:

In July 2017 President Donald Trump tweeted a proposal to prohibit transgender Americans from serving in the United States military “in any capacity.” The proposal undercuts an entire year where transgender Americans served openly in the military, following an in-depth study from the U.S. Department of Defense. Thousands of transgender people are currently serving in the U.S. military.

On August 9 Doe v. Trump was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging Trump’s attempt to reinstate a ban on open service for transgender people. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are five transgender service members from the Air Force, Coast Guard, and Army with nearly 60 years of combined service in the United States military.

The case is being led by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLBTQ Advocates & Defenders, and Foley, Hoag LLP and WilmerHale.

Latest in the Case:

In January 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned a preliminary injunction issued by the D.C. District Court against implementation of the Trump Administration’s announced ban on military service by transgender individuals. The appeals court ruled that its decision is not a final judgment on the ban and that the administration should defer to military officials when ultimately determining rules for service.

Later that month, in two other cases tackling the anti-transgender military ban, the Supreme Court denied a request by the Trump administration to hear arguments regarding the proposed ban on transgender service members in the military. In the same order, the justices granted the government’s motions to lift injunctions on the ban temporarily.

The military ban took effect on April 12, 2019, even as litigation against it continues through court.

Case History:

  • August 9, 2017: NCLR, GLAD, and private attorneys file the initial complaint in the case, challenging President Trump’s proposed ban on open service for transgender Americans.
  • August 25, 2017: President Trump signs a directive banning transgender Americans from enlisting in the United States military and leaving thousands of currently serving transgender servicemembers in limbo.
  • September 1, 2017: GLAD & NCLR file a motion for preliminary injunction, seeking an immediate halt to President Trump’s ban.
  • October 30, 2017: Federal judge grants the request for preliminary injunction, placing a temporary hold on the anti-transgender military ban.
  • November 21, 2017: Defendants file a notice of appeal of the preliminary injunction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
  • December 11, 2017: Defendants in the case ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia for a stay in the case, which would push back the January 1, 2018 deadline to allow open enlistment for transgender people.
  • December 22, 2017: A unanimous panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denies the Trump Administration’s request for a stay, clearing the way for transgender Americans to enlist in the military starting January 1.
  • May 11, 2018Transgender military ban plaintiffs filed a cross-motion for summary judgment in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asserting that undisputed facts show the ban violates their Equal Protection and Due Process rights and that the court should provide permanent declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent the Trump-Pence ban from ever being implemented.
  • December 10, 2018: D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals hears oral argument in the case.
  • January 4, 2019: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturns a preliminary injunction issued by the D.C. District Court against implementation of the Trump Administration’s announced ban on military service by transgender individuals. The ruling has no immediate impact as three other federal courts have ruled in separate cases that the administration’s ban cannot move forward. The appeals court ruled that its decision is not a final judgment on the ban and that the administration should defer to military officials when ultimately determining rules for service.
  • January 22, 2019: In two other cases tackling the anti-transgender military ban, the Supreme Court denies a request by the Trump administration to hear arguments regarding the proposed ban on transgender service members in the military. In the same order, the justices grant the government’s motions to lift injunctions on the ban temporarily.
  • April 12, 2019: While litigation continues in court, the anti-transgender military policy takes effect.

Last Updated May 1, 2019

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