June 30, 2016: The United States Department of Defense (DOD) adopts a policy permitting transgender people to serve in the military based on a nearly two year DOD review determining that there was no valid reason to exclude qualified personnel from military service simply because they are transgender.
July 26, 2017: President Trump tweets that “the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”
August 9, 2017: NCLR and GLAD file Doe v. Trump, the first lawsuit filed to stop the ban, challenging its constitutionality and requesting that the court issue a nationwide preliminary injunction to stop it from taking effect while the case is being heard in court.
August 25, 2017: President Trump issues a memorandum ordering Secretary of Defense James Mattis to submit “a plan for implementing” the ban by February 21, 2018. Secretary Mattis delivers this (the “Mattis Plan” and panel report) to President Trump on February 22, 2018.
August 28, 2017: The ACLU files Stone v. Trump, challenging the Trump-Pence transgender military ban, in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. On this same day, Lambda Legal files Karnoski v. Trump, challenging the Trump-Pence transgender military ban, in the United States District Court for the District of Washington.
September 5, 2017: Equality California files Stockman v. Trump, challenging the Trump-Pence transgender military ban, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
October 2, 2017: NCLR and GLAD join Equality California’s case, Stockman v. Trump, and file a motion for preliminary injunction.
October 30, 2017: The United States District Court for the District of Columbia rules that Doe v. Trump plaintiffs established a likelihood of success on their claim that President Trump’s ban violates equal protection, that plaintiffs would be irreparably harmed without a preliminary injunction to stop the ban, and that the public interest and balance of hardships weighed in favor of granting injunctive relief and temporarily halting the ban while the case is heard by the court.
November 17, 2017: The state of California is now a plaintiff in Stockman v. Trump, as the court grants California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s motion to intervene.
November 21, 2017: United States District Court for the District of Maryland Judge Marvin J. Garvis issues a preliminary injunction in the ACLU’s case, Stone v. Trump.
December 11, 2017: United States District Court for the District of Washington Judge Marsha J. Pechman issues a preliminary injunction in Lambda Legal’s case, Karnoski v. Trump.
December 22, 2018: United States District Court for the Central District of California Judge Jesus G. Bernal issues a preliminary injunction in Stockman v. Trump.
March 23, 2018: President Trump accepts the “Mattis Plan” and issues a memorandum in which he “revoked” his August 25 Memorandum.
April 20, 2018: Defendants file a motion to dissolve the October 30 nationwide preliminary injunction enjoining the transgender military ban issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia; a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint; and a Motion for Summary Judgment.
May 12, 2018: Plaintiffs file their cross-motion for summary judgment, as well as motions in opposition to Defendant’s motions to dissolve the injunction and dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint.
August 6, 2018: United States District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly denies Trump administration motions to dismiss Doe v. Trump and to dissolve the preliminary injunction preventing the ban from going into effect.
August 27, 2018: Defendants filed a notice of appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals of Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s denial of their motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of the transgender military ban.
September 21, 2018: The Defendants-Appellants filed their opening brief in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
October 22, 2018: Plaintiffs-Appellees filed their opposition to Defendants’ appeal, asking the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to leave in place the preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the transgender military ban.
October 29, 2018: A wide array of former military leaders, veterans’ and civil rights organizations, women’s groups, military scholars and historians, and states went on record opposing President Trump’s ongoing efforts to exclude transgender people from military service, in thirteen friend-of-the-court briefs filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
November 23, 2018: The Trump administration filed petitions for cert before judgment in Doe v. Trump, Stockman v. Trump, and Karnoski v. Trump.
November 30, 2018: Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly forcefully denied the Trump administration’s motion to stay her preliminary injunction while the administration seeks cert from the Supreme Court.
December 10, 2018: D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on Defendants-Appellants appeal of the denial of their motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction.
December 13, 2018: The Trump administration filed petitions asking the U.S. Supreme Court to lift the injunctions blocking the ban from taking effect if the Court declines to hear the cases this term.
December 24, 2018: Plaintiffs filed briefs opposing the administration’s request that the U.S. Supreme Court hear cases on the ban prematurely.
December 28, 2018: Plaintiffs filed briefs opposing the administration’s request that the U.S. Supreme Court lift the injunctions blocking the ban from taking effect while the cases continue.
January 4, 2019: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled per curiam that the district court had improperly maintained the injunction first issued in October, 2017, in light of the subsequent issuance of the March 2018 “Mattis Plan.” The court’s short January 4 ruling was issued per curiam (of the court and unsigned), and fuller opinions from the panel will follow.
January 22, 2019 – 5 justices on the Supreme Court gave a green light to the Trump administration to enact its transgender military ban temporarily, while the cases challenging it continue through the lower courts. They did this by temporarily staying two of four nationwide injunctions that have been blocking the ban since late in 2017.
At the same time, the Court did not agree to the Trump administration’s request to leapfrog the usual judicial process by hearing the case against the ban this term. That allows all four of the cases to continue through the normal course in the federal district courts and courts of appeal.
Because two of the four nationwide injunctions blocking the ban, in Doe v. Trump and Stone v. Trump, were not implicated in the January 22 Supreme Court ruling, the Administration cannot yet enforce the ban:
- In Doe, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on January 4 that the district court had improperly maintained the injunction first issued in October, 2017, in light of the subsequent issuance of the March 2018 “Mattis Plan.” The court’s short January 4 ruling was issued per curiam (of the court and unsigned), and fuller opinions from the panel will follow. Once those opinions issue, the nationwide injunction will remain in place for at least 21 days in order to give the plaintiffs an opportunity to determine whether to seek rehearing by the full court.
- In Stone, the federal district court has not yet issued a ruling on the administration’s motion to dissolve that injunction. The administration has filed a motion for expedited ruling in light of the Supreme Court’s action on January 22, but that nationwide injunction also continues to block enforcement of the ban until such a ruling issues.