A federal judge in Maryland cleared the way Thursday for the Trump administration to implement broad restrictions on transgender people serving in the military.
U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III rescinded an earlier order that he had issued to bar the administration from putting its policy in place.
The Supreme Court in January lifted similar injunctions in cases filed in California and Washington state, but the order issued in Maryland remained until Thursday.
In a six-page ruling, Russell said he had to follow the Supreme Court’s lead and could not make exceptions for transgender individuals in the Maryland case seeking to enlist or become military officers.
“The court is bound by the Supreme Court’s decision to stay the preliminary injunctions in their entirety,” Russell wrote.
The Defense Department said in a statement after the ruling that current policy allowing transgender troops to serve “will remain in effect until the Department issues further guidance, which will be forthcoming in the near future.”
American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Joshua Block, the lead attorney for the transgender service members in Maryland, said the ruling Thursday does “concrete, severe harm.” Block called it “particularly outrageous and irrational” that the government would not accommodate five of his clients who were on the cusp of enlisting or being commissioned as officers.
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow