US Troops Sue President over Transgender Ban
Various reports indicate anonymous US troops have filed a lawsuit against their Commander-in-Chief over President Trump’s yet-to-be-implemented ban on transgenders in the US military:
“The directive to reinstate a ban on open service by transgender people violates both the Equal Protection component of the Fifth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution,” states the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Washington by five anonymous “Jane Does.”
That’s awkward wording, to say the directive to reinstate the ban is illegal, rather than saying the ban itself is illegal. But it is informative: Why didn’t these troops sue President Obama last year? It was precisely the same policy — just a different President. Why is it suddenly now an issue?
The logic in the brief, and those supporting it, is astoundingly asinine:
“Because they identified themselves as transgender in reliance on defendants’ earlier promise, plaintiffs have lost the stability and certainty they had in their careers and benefits, including post-military and retirement benefits that depend on the length of their service,” the suit states.
There are two problems with that argument: The first, obviously, is that “unfair” doesn’t equate to unconstitutional or illegal. The second problem is transgenders weren’t supposed to be entitled to “retirement benefits” to begin with — because transgenders weren’t supposed to be in the military. They were serving in violation of military policies.
At Slate.com, Mark Joseph Stern had an equally senseless response [emphasis added]:
The suit’s constitutional theories are especially compelling in light of the unprecedented nature of Trump’s policy: Never before has the Pentagon invited a new group of individuals to serve, then broken its promise and purged them from the ranks based solely on political judgment.
Stern misses the same point: Transgenders have never been “invited to serve.” At no time have transgenders been allowed to enlist in the US military. The only ones that are in the military are those who joined in violation of governing policies.
That the US military “changes its mind” regarding its policies may be called unfair or even stupid — but that does not make it unconstitutional. It might even be called the natural outcome of a democratic republic that elects military leaders with different ideas. As was noted before, one could just as easily argue that it was President Obama’s decision to open the military to transgender service that was the “wrong,” and that President Trump has simply righted the wrong. That’s no consolation to those at the end of the ideological whip, but simply being the “victim” of poor policymaking does not entitle them to special treatment.
Another laughable act of desperation has been the publication of a biased “report” claiming “implementing President Trump’s ban would cost $960 million.” Note the nomenclature of “President Trump’s ban,” when just 13 months ago it was “President Obama’s ban” — and those astronomical costs were the same. Where was that argument last year, when the ban was in place?
Easy: It’s an agenda-promoting piece that isn’t a “report” at all. It’s a 12-page pamphlet that is summarized in one sentence:
We derive our estimate [of $960 million] by multiplying the number of transgender service members (12,800) by the average per-person cost of recruiting and training a replacement for each service member who is discharged ($75,000).
That is an utterly ridiculous and staggeringly ignorant way to convey the impact of a policy decision. The “report” — which was written and published in just a few days by an LGBT activist organization — is based on wildly unsupported assumptions, conveniently always in its own favor. For example, it cites an “estimate” of 12,800 transgenders in the military — an estimate from another “study” by Aaron Belkin, who is also the author of this “report.” More importantly, the pamphlet ignores the fact the US military discharges and recruits hundreds of thousands of people every year, most of them benign administrative separations as troops end their terms of enlistment. Those troops aren’t required to continue to serve simply because of the “cost” of their discharge.
The military also discharges tens of thousands every year for everything from suitability to criminal conduct. It is ridiculous to say it “costs” the US military millions of dollars every year to discharge those who deserve to be kicked out. Economics is not the issue.
But the LGBT community is so desperate they just wanted a “shocking” number to put in headlines — even if it was meaningless.
As has been said before, what President Trump did was no different than what President Obama did 13 months prior. While Christians and conservatives grumbled at Obama’s social engineering, they knew it was within the President’s authority to change military policy — and the LGBT community celebrated.
Now, the shoe is on the other foot.