University News

Levi on Military Transgender Ban

Published: January 23, 2019 | Categories: Law, All News
Jennifer Levi on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show

Western New England University School of Law Professor Jennifer Levi has been at the forefront of the legal battle over the Trump administration's proposed policy to bar most transgender people from serving in the military. Levi serves as director of the Transgender Rights Project of GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, one of the groups seeking to block the policy.

On Tuesday, January 22, the United States Supreme Court allowed the policy to move forward, lifting two injunctions issued by lower courts, in a 5-4 decision. However, the high court declined the administration's request to hear immediate appeals of lower court rulings, allowing challenges to the policy to move forward. 

Appearing on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show," Levi says the Supreme Court's ruling did not speak to the merits of the policy, and she remains optimistic the ban will not stand legal scrutiny moving forward.

"The fact that transgender people have been putting their lives on the line every day in service of their country is going to help us prove our case," Levi told Maddow.

Click here to view the complete interview on MSNBC, including analysis of the Supreme Court's decisions.

In another interview, Levi told the New York Times "In declining to hear these cases, the Supreme Court saw through the administration's contrived efforts to gin up a national crisis."

"Unfortunately," she added, "the court’s stay of the lower courts’ preliminary orders means that courageous transgender service members will face discharges while challenges to the ban go forward. The Trump administration’s cruel obsession with ridding our military of dedicated and capable service members because they happen to be transgender defies reason and cannot survive legal review."

A nationally-recognized expert on transgender legal issues, Professor Levi has serves as counsel on a number of precedent-setting cases. In 2018, she was honored with the prestigious American Bar Association Stonewall Award for her pioneering work.