The president is no longer in charge of the military that he is constitutionally mandated to lead, according to a Washington, D.C., judge’s recent actions.
On Monday, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly blocked President Trump’s impending ban on transgender individuals who serve in the military. She also blocked Trump’s order to stop the military from recruiting people who identify as transgender.
Whether or not you agree with the merits of President Trump’s transgender ban, the Constitution makes it quite clear that he is allowed to do so.
Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that the president has ultimate authority over military matters (other than declaring war against foreign powers) as “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.”
For the past couple months, left-wing groups have used the courts to target some of Trump’s most high-profile policy initiatives, like his travel ban from countries with ties to terrorism.
In August, President Trump issued a memorandum reversing former President Barack Obama’s 2016 transgender military policy:
“In my judgment, the previous Administration failed to identify a sufficient basis to conclude that terminating the Departments' longstanding policy and practice would not hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, or tax military resources, and there remain meaningful concerns that further study is needed to ensure that continued implementation of last year's policy change would not have those negative effects.”
Trump cited his constitutional authority and the importance of evidence and morale, versus mere social statements and political correctness:
“I am directing the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the U.S. Coast Guard, to return to the longstanding policy and practice on military service by transgender individuals that was in place prior to June 2016 until such time as a sufficient basis exists upon which to conclude that terminating that policy and practice would not have the negative effects discussed above.
"The Secretary of Defense, after consulting with the Secretary of Homeland Security, may advise me at any time, in writing, that a change to this policy is warranted.”
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has not made it clear why she believes she has the authority to overrule the commander in chief on military staffing matters.
As Daniel Horowitz has exhaustively pointed out on CR, the overreaching action of federal judges has become commonplace nationwide. Federal judges continue to defy the Constitution and assert their political will onto local, state, and federal legislators.
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Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.