Civil Liberties and Constitutional Rights

U.S. National Archives / Ben Balter (background)

Too often, national security and personal liberties are portrayed as inversely related. This is simplistic, and also clearly wrong. After all, in the absence of security, it would be impossible to enjoy our freedoms at all. Nevertheless, some of the hardest national security choices are inevitably those that involve tradeoffs with civil liberties. The need to gather information on our enemies rubs up against expectations of privacy. The eroding line between war and law enforcement endangers principles of due process. And the need to keep secrets increasingly leads to tension with a robust free press.

 

Latest in Civil Liberties and Constitutional Rights

Civil Liberties and Constitutional Rights

Document: Court Dismisses President Trump as Party in Transgender Service Member Ban Case

On Aug. 25 2017, President Trump ordered the U.S. government to not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in the U.S. military. Two plaintiffs, Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, subsequently filed a lawsuit seeking to block the memorandum and sought a preliminary injunction. The court granted the preliminary injunction in Oct. 2017.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colombia issued two rulings on Aug. 6 in the case of Doe v. Trump. 

Transgender Servicemembers

Document: District Court Upholds Preliminary Injunction on Transgender Military Ban

On Friday, April 13, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington ruled that its preliminary injunction on the president’s ban on military service by openly transgender individuals will remain in effect. The court also ruled to make transgender people a protected class, citing the systemic oppression transgender individuals have long faced. The court’s ruling is below: 

Civil Liberties and Constitutional Rights

Documents: New Trump Administration Policy on Transgender Servicemembers

On March 23, President Trump announced a new policy limiting the ability of transgender people to serve in the U.S. military, based on a recommendation prepared by Defense Secretary James Mattis. Trump's memo, Mattis's memo and the Defense Department study on which Mattis's memo is based are all included below.

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