News and Events

HCMP Files Amicus Brief in Support of Transgender Military Service

February 01, 2018  By HCMP Law Offices

Hillis Clark Martin & Peterson has filed an amicus brief in support of transgender service members, and transgender people who want to serve in the U.S. military, in a pending lawsuit filed against President Trump and the Department of Defense.  

HCMP filed the brief on behalf of a distinguished list of 46 former military and national security officials who have served in the senior-most levels of the U.S. government across the administrations of both major political parties.  The list includes Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel (former Secretaries of Defense), General (Ret.) Michael Hayden (former Director of the CIA and NSA), and General (Ret.) Stanley McChrystal (former Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan).

Filed in Ryan Karnoski, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., which is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, the amicus brief addresses President Trump’s tweet and subsequent actions purporting to exclude transgender people from the U.S. military.  The former military and national security officials offer their perspective that this is not a case where deference to the President’s tweet is warranted in light of the absence of any considered military policymaking process, and the tweet’s sharp departure from decades of precedent on the approach of the U.S. military to major personnel policy changes.  The amici—who collectively have devoted countless decades to strengthening U.S. security interests—also contend that the categorical exclusion of transgender individuals on the basis of group characteristics rather than individual fitness to serve is inimical to the national security interests of the United States.

HCMP attorneys Mike Scott and Jake Ewart provided pro bono legal services in connection with the amicus brief, and in cooperation with Yale Law School’s Rule of Law clinic.