President Donald Trump's directive banning transgender Americans from serving in the U.S. military has been shut down by a federal judge.
And Trump's tweeting is one of the key reasons cited for the decision.
District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly's opinion (published Monday) gave a win to the current and hopeful trans military members who filed the lawsuit against Trump and a number of military leaders.
Kollar-Kotelly ruled the ban on accepting transgender individuals into the military (set to go into effect March 23, 2018), as well as the expulsion of current trans members from the armed services, won't be happening.
Judge Kollar-Kotelly listed a few key reasons for her decision – one of them being Trump's Twitter behavior.
'The discrimination in this case was certainly of an unusual character'
President Trump in July first announced his intentions to pursue this transgender ban on Twitter, without any additional explanation for how or why it might happen.
It wasn't until a month later that the official presidential memorandum was released.
That loose tweeting is coming back to bite the president, with Kollar-Tokelly saying she considered the "circumstances" surrounding the announcement when weighing claims of discrimination. (Page 68 in the ruling.)
"The discrimination in this case was certainly of an unusual character," she wrote.
The ban announcement came "abruptly" via Twitter, she wrote, "without any of the formality or deliberative processes that generally accompany the development and announcement of major policy changes that will gravely affect the lives of many Americans."
That gives credence to the plaintiffs' argument that "the decision to exclude transgender individuals was not driven by genuine concerns regarding military efficacy," she continued.
Trump has not tweeted a response as of 3 p.m.
Earlier this month, when Trump's tweets were cited as a reason to again block proposed travel restrictions, as Quartz reported.
The tweets weren't the sole reason
Trump's prolific tweeting wasn't the only reason for Kollar-Kotelly's opinion.
There were two other key things she highlighted:
One, lawyers for the defendants (Trump and other military officials) argued that having trans service members would be costly or hurt "unit cohesion," and also said some transgender military members could have health issues that don't allow them to fulfill their duties.
Kollar-Kotelly debunked those, and wrote in part: "There is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effective on the military at all."
Two, she pointed to a study by the RAND National Defense Research Institute – endorsed by a Department of Defense Working Group – that concluded barring transgender individuals from serving would "undermine military effectiveness and readiness." In addition, the Army, Air Force and Navy all agreed allowing transgender persons to serve was fine.
So the defendants' stated concerns – that it could negatively impact the armed forces – have "been studied and rejected by the military itself," she wrote.
What happens next?
For now, the official policy on transgender individuals serving in the U.S. military defaults to how it was before Trump's announcement – that there is no ban anymore, as announced by the Obama administration in June of 2016.
But this isn't a final ruling.
The group suing the president however proved to have a strong enough case that it's likely they'll win – so Judge Kollar-Kotelly will not dismiss the case, as the defendants had asked her to do.
It will still have to go to trial for a final determination. No trial date has been set at this point, according to Bloomberg.
This opinion also leaves the door open for a policy change.
Kollar-Kotelly specifically said the process in which the ban was rolled out matters. If the president had asked for studies be done regarding transgender service in the military, and then issued the ban after those studies determined it would be beneficial, "this would be a different case," she wrote.
But that's not what happened here.
"At this time, it appears that the rights of a class of individuals were summarily and abruptly revoked for reasons contrary to the only then-available studies," the judge wrote.