The Pentagon plans to implement a more restrictive policy on transgender troops approved by Defense Secretary James Mattis last year, after a federal judge lifted the final injunction against the policy Thursday. U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III rescinded his earlier order to bar the policy due to athat the Trump administration could enforce its ban while litigation continues.
Under the new policy, any person who has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and has received medical treatment – either hormones or surgery – will not be allowed to join the military. If they have been diagnosed, but have not received medical treatment, they will still be eligible to join.
All transgender soldiers currently serving will be allowed to stay in uniform, however, regardless of whether they have received medical treatment.
The Supreme Court split along ideological lines, 5-4, in allowing the plan to take effect, with the court's five conservatives greenlighting it and its four liberal members saying they would not have.
A U.S. District Court judge had issued an injunction in December 2017 blocking the ban, but the Supreme Court's stay stops that ruling from taking effect for now. The case is still pending in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court will not weigh in on the constitutionality of the ban itself until after that ruling.
"As always, we treat all transgender persons with respect and dignity," Lt. Col. Carla Gleason said in a statement after the Supreme Court ruling.
"DoD's proposed policy is NOT a ban on service by transgender persons. It is critical that DoD be permitted to implement personnel policies that it determines are necessary to ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world. DoD's proposed policy is based on professional military judgment and will ensure that the U.S. Armed Forces remain the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world."
Mr. Trump announced via tweet in July 2017 that transgender individuals would be banned from the military.
— CBS News' Steven Portnoy contributed to this report