I wish I could say I was surprised the five conservative judges on the Supreme Court –Gorsuch, Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Kavanaugh—recently voted to support Trump’s obsession with banning transgender people from military service.
In one of probably many 5-4 decisions to come (more liberal judges Ginsberg, Sotomayor, Kagan and Breyer dissented), the conservative justices signaled their support for Trump’s discriminatory agenda bigly. Shame on them for supporting this base-baiting nonsense from a president who avoided the service due to inflamed corns or whatever while claiming to suffer a “personal Vietnam” dodging STDs as an entitled magnate about town in the ’70s. Cruising the clubs in daddy’s limo is almost the same as dodging feces-tipped spears in a rice paddy but not quite.
Fun fact: No one on the current Supreme Court has served in the military, although you could argue Kavanaugh was practically a full bird colonel when it came to procuring beer for his fraternity pals.
Now of course I’m not saying Supreme Court Justices should have personal experience with every issue that comes before them. That would be, to use legal vernacular, nutso facto.
But I am saying that it seems to me if you’re going to sit on the highest court in the land for life, you should want to smite bigotry and prejudice a lot more than the average Joe, Jolene or Jolene becoming Joe.
The Trump administration considers this a victory. A transgender military ban was one of the first things the president wanted to accomplish, most likely not for any deeply held, wrongheaded belief but more to stick it to Obama who announced trans soldiers would be able to serve openly toward the end of his presidency. You remember, right before the sky turned coal black and the rivers turned to blood. Kidding! It was more of a brooding gray.
The issue of keeping transgender people from serving in the military is just the latest chapter in an ugly history of prejudice in the U.S. Military. Truman integrated the military because it was the right thing to do. In 2011, Obama finally tossed the offensive and ridiculous “don’t ask, don’t tell” of the Clinton years, allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to no longer be discriminated against. It’s hard to understand why the high court would penalize soldiers simply because they’ve been brave enough to take the steps to make them whole, finally.
Numerous studies have found that trans soldiers have no negative impact whatsoever on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness or readiness. Blubbering about hormone and other medical costs is ridiculous, too. Five times as much is spent on Viagra for non-trans personnel.
There are nearly 11,000 transgender troops serving in the military today, protecting all of us who didn’t have the guts or the stamina or, honestly, the pure patriotism to enlist. Instead of vilifying these valorous soldiers as “less than” while they protect us thousands of miles away from their homes, we should offer grateful support. Anything less is simply un-American.