The Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration to go ahead with its plan to restrict military service by transgender people while court challenges continue.
The high court on Tuesday reversed lower-court orders preventing the Pentagon from implementing its plans. But the high court for now declined to take up cases about the plan.
According to the New York Post, the Supreme Court broke along ideological lines in a 5-4 decision that removed injunctions imposed by lower courts that had previously blocked the ban.
RELATED: Trump bans transgender people from military
RELATED: Trump’s transgender military ban blocked by federal court
The cases will continue to move through lower courts. Military policy had barred service by transgender people until President Barack Obama’s administration began allowing transgender people already in the military to serve openly and set a date when transgender people would be allowed to enlist.
The five conservative justices — Chief Justice John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Donald Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — moved to lift the injunctions which would let the ban proceed.
The court’s progressive wing — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer — voted to keep the injunctions in place.
The court decided not to take up the plan itself, as the Trump administration had wanted, opting instead to allow lower courts to hear the legal battle.
Lambda Legal, which focuses on gay and transgender issues, said it will redouble its efforts to fight the policy, especially since transgender troops have been serving without incident for over two years.
Mr Trump first unveiled the change in policy in a tweet in July 2017 because he said transgender service members pose a threat to national security, declaring the US government “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”
It reversed President Obama’s 2016 policy that allowed transgender men and women already serving in the military to do so openly.
Advocacy groups and lawyers for active-duty transgender military personnel sued to stop the policy from taking effect and courts imposed nationwide injunctions.
The Trump administration’s policy, which was brought into effect by former Defence Secretary James Mattis, bars transgender people from being in the military unless they serve “in their biological sex” and do not attempt to seek surgery for a gender transition.
—With the New York Post