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Federal judge keeps hold on Trump transgender troop ban

Federal judge keeps hold on Trump transgender troop ban
© Greg Nash

A federal judge ruled late Friday that the injunctions put in place to halt President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to fundraise for 3 Republicans running for open seats: report Trump to nominate former Monsanto exec to top Interior position White House aides hadn’t heard of Trump's new tax cut: report MORE’s ban on transgender members of the military should remain in place.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman of the Western District of Washington blocked the federal government from imposing the ban, ruling that transgender people are a protected class of people, according to HuffPost.

“The Court also rules that, because transgender people have long been subjected to systemic oppression and forced to live in silence, they are a protected class. Therefore, any attempt to exclude them from military service will be looked at with the highest level of care, and will be subject to the Court’s ‘strict scrutiny,’ ” Pechman wrote.

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The judge, an appointee of former President Clinton, wrote that the government would have to show the ban was “sincerely motivated by compelling interests, rather than by prejudice or stereotype.”

She also noted that the federal government had failed in its case “to identify even one General or military expert [Trump] consulted, despite having been ordered to do so repeatedly.”

The ruling is the latest court order to halt the ban on transgender troops.

Trump moved forward last month with his plan to ban most transgender people from serving in the military.

The White House released a memorandum at the time outlining policies set by Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Pentagon insists Mattis, Trump 'completely aligned' on leaving arms treaty | Trump 'not satisfied' with Saudi explanation on Khashoggi | Kushner says US still 'fact-finding' A solid budget requires tradeoffs Pentagon: Trump, Mattis 'completely aligned' on Russia arms treaty withdrawal MORE. The memo stated that transgender people are "disqualified from military service except under limited circumstances."

The president initially announced such a ban on Twitter last summer, but the policy has faced several legal challenges in the months since.