A federal judge late Friday barred the government from implementing President Donald Trump's ban on transgender troops pending a review of court challenges because of the history of discrimination against transgender individuals.
U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman of the Western District of Washington ruled that transgender people were a protected class of people, HuffPost reports.
"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," Pechman wrote in her decision.
"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, named to the bench in 1999 by Democratic President Bill Clinton, said that the administration would need to prove that the ban was "sincerely motivated by compelling interests, rather than by prejudice or stereotype."
The government, she noted, had failed "to identify even one general or military expert [Trump] consulted, despite having been ordered to do so repeatedly."
Pechman's order was the latest court decision to halt the president's transgender ban.
Trump last month signed a memorandum that said transgender individuals with a history of "gender dysphoria" were disqualified from military service "except under certain limited circumstances."
Such troops were defined as "those who may require substantial medical treatment, including through medical drugs or surgery."
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