Analysis: Groups Sue Trump re. Transgender Military Service

On August 9, 2017, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and two law firms filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging President Trump’s directive issued by tweet on July 26, 2017 to reinstate a ban on transgender people serving in the military. The suit is brought in the names of five presently anonymous service members who serve openly as transgender people (“Jane Does 1-5”) against, among others, Donald Trump, James Mattis, the U.S. Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and the federal government. The lawsuit requests declaratory and injunctive relief, that is, a pronouncement from the court adjudging that the directive issued by Donald Trump via tweet that transgender persons cannot serve in the military as unconstitutional and illegal, and prohibiting the government from removing currently serving transgender members of the military who have relied in good faith on the government’s previous policy.

The lawsuit asserts that Donald Trump’s directive violates the equal protection component and the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Fifth Amendment prohibits the federal government from denying equal protection of the laws to individuals and from depriving individuals of their property or liberty interests without due process of law. President Trump and the government have done both, by placing the employment of the claimants in jeopardy without providing the necessary rational basis.