The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals alleged Seattle’s Judge Pechman failed to give the policy sufficient deference after she ruled against the ban, saying it infringed on the constitutional rights of transgender service members and recruits.
Without ruling on the merits, a three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based appeals court said Pechman did not give the military’s judgment enough deference and ordered her to give it more.
Pechman is one of four federal judges to rule against Trump’s policy toward transgender military personnel.
In January, the Supreme Court, which has a 5-4 conservative majority, lifted lower court injunctions against the policy, while allowing legal challenges to continue.
The policy also allowed military personnel diagnosed with gender dysphoria — “the conflict between a person's physical gender and their identified gender” — under Obama’s policy to serve according to their gender identity.
In April 2018, Pechman extended her injunction to the revised policy, finding no evidence that transgender troops reduced the military’s effectiveness, and saying the ban undermined the dignity of those troops.
In March 2018, Trump backed a revised policy from then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that disqualified most transgender people with a history of gender dysphoria from military service, and people who have undergone gender transition steps.
On Friday, the appeals court said the revised policy “discriminates on the basis of transgender status” but was nevertheless “significantly different” from the 2017 ban.