The move is the latest development in a complicated legal battle over President Donald Trump’s order earlier this year that transgender personnel be banned from the ranks — a policy the Pentagon is currently studying how best to carry out.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia earlier this year ordered the government to halt the administration’s ban on transgender troops while a series of legal challenges unfolded.
Specifically, the court ruled that the Pentagon had to return to the Obama-era policy allowing transgender recruits, in addition to those personnel already serving.
It was one of two federal courts to temporarily halt the ban.
Under the new Obama policy, transgender recruits were originally set to be able to join the military on July 1, 2017. But prior to Trump’s stated policy, Defense Secretary James Mattis delayed the implementation of Obama’s policy by six months, until Jan. 1, 2018, citing the need for additional study.
The government later sought clarification on whether it could further delay that deadline, but the court said last month the Jan. 1 deadline must remain.
The government is now formally appealing for a further delay while a high-level Pentagon panel reviews the issue.
“Compelling the military to implement a new accessions policy while it is simultaneously completing a comprehensive study of military service by transgender individuals that may soon result in the adoption of different accessions standards would waste significant military resources and sow unnecessary confusion among service members and applicants,” the Justice Department’s new motion argues.
This article was originally published on Politico. Read the original article.