Military attorneys in Fayetteville gear up for lawsuits following transgender ban
Posted July 26
Fayetteville, N.C. — Since the ban on transgender people serving in the military was lifted last year, military attorneys at Fort Bragg have undergone a tremendous amount of training about the legal ramifications of the change.
Now, civilian attorneys are gearing up for what could be a flood of lawsuits from the transgender military population following President Donald Trump announcing Wednesday a ban on transgender people from serving in any capacity.
"We should honor what's in place," said Billy Richardson, a Fayetteville Attorney and State Representative. "If these people are able to meet the requirements of the service and they want to serve, we should let them serve."
Transgender service members have been allowed to openly serve since last year when former Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban.
Richardson's law partner is a former military lawyer who represented a transgender service member after it was discovered she was formerly a man.
"It was raised up on up to the Department of Defense who ultimately just allowed her to continue to serve until her mobilization was complete and her service was complete, and then she moved on," said Kris Poppe, a Fayetteville attorney.
A Rand Corporation study estimates between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender people are serving on active duty. About 1,500 to 4,000 are in the reserves and National Guard.
The attorneys take issue with the president citing "tremendous medical cost and disruption" within the ranks as reasons for the ban.
"To separate them out is a problem that seems to be directed at a dislike for what they stand for, what they are, as opposed to truly examining their cost or their effect on military readiness," Poppe said.
Richardson said if they try to overturn the current policy, it will be vetted in the courts.
"All the way up to the court of appeals, to the U.S. Supreme Court. I firmly believe the 14th amendment is on their side," he said.
The 14th Amendment deals with the right to due process under the law for all American citizens.
It is not clear whether Trump's ban would apply to current members of the military, or to anyone from the transgender population who wants to come on active duty.