United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
RYAN KARNOSKI, et al. Plaintiffs,
DONALD J. TRUMP, et al. Defendants. STATE OF WASHINGTON, Intervenor,
DONALD J. TRUMP, et al. Defendants.
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR CLARIFICATION AND PARTIAL
STAY OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION PENDING APPEAL
J. Pechman United States District Judge
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Clarification and Motion for Partial Stay of Preliminary
Injunction Pending Appeal. (Dkt. No. 106.) Having reviewed
the Motion, the Responses (Dkt. Nos. 114, 119), and all
related papers, the Court DENIES the proposed clarification
set forth in Defendants' Motion for Clarification and
DENIES Defendant's Motion for Partial Stay of Preliminary
Injunction Pending Appeal.
26, 2017, President Donald J. Trump announced on Twitter that
the United States government will no longer allow transgender
individuals to serve in any capacity in the military. (Dkt.
No. 34, Ex. 6.) Prior to this announcement, the military
concluded that transgender individuals should be permitted to
serve openly. On June 30, 2016, the Secretary of Defense
issued a directive-type memorandum stating that “[n]ot
later than July 1, 2017, ” the military would begin
accession of transgender enlistees. (Dkt. No. 48, Ex. C at
§ 2.) On June 30, 2017, Secretary of Defense James N.
Mattis deferred the deadline to January 1, 2018. (Dkt. No.
34-3.) President Trump's July 26, 2017 announcement and
the August 25, 2017 Presidential Memorandum thereafter
prohibited the accession of openly transgender enlistees
indefinitely (the “Accessions Directive”). (Dkt.
No. 34, Exs. 6, 7.)
December 11, 2017, the Court entered an order granting
Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction. (Dkt.
No. 103.) The order enjoined Defendants from “taking
any action relative to transgender individuals that is
inconsistent with the status quo that existed prior to
President Trump's July 26, 2017 announcement”
regarding military service by transgender individuals.
(Id. at 23.)
now request clarification as to the terms of the Court's
Order. (Dkt. No. 106.) Specifically, Defendants seek
clarification as to whether Secretary Mattis may exercise
“independent discretion” to further postpone the
January 1, 2018 deadline for accession by transgender
enlistees “to further study whether the policy will
impact military readiness and lethality or to complete
further steps needed to implement the policy.”
(Id. at 2.) In the alternative, Defendants move for
a partial stay of the preliminary injunction as to the
Accessions Directive. (Id. at 4.)
Motion for Clarification
move for clarification of the Court's Order as to the
Accessions Directive. Essentially, Defendants contend that
the Court's Order does not prohibit Secretary Mattis from
implementing a policy this Court has already enjoined. This
claim is without merit. The Court's Order clearly
enjoined Defendants from “taking any action relative to
transgender individuals that is inconsistent with the status
quo that existed prior to President Trump's July 26, 2017
announcement” regarding military service by transgender
individuals. (Dkt. No. 103 at 23.) Prior to July 26, 2017,
the status quo was a policy permitting accession of
transgender individuals no later than January 1, 2018.
(See Dkt. No. 48, Ex. C; Dkt. No. 34-3.) Any action
by any Defendant that is inconsistent with this status quo is
Motion for Partial Stay
alternative, Defendants move for a partial stay of the
Court's Order granting a preliminary injunction as to the
Accessions Directive, pending review by the Ninth Circuit.
Defendants contend - for the first time during these
proceedings - that they are not prepared to begin accessions
of transgender enlistees by January 1, 2018. (Dkt. No. 106 at
4-6.) Defendants contend that Plaintiffs will not be harmed
by a stay, and that they are likely to prevail on the merits
of their appeal. (Id. at 6-8.) The Court will not
stay its preliminary injunction pending appeal.
pending appeal “is an intrusion into the ordinary
processes of administration and judicial review.”
Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418, 427 (2009) (citation
omitted). In determining whether to grant a stay, the Court
considers: (1) whether Defendants have made a strong showing
that they are likely to succeed on the merits; (2) whether
Defendants will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3)
whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure
Plaintiffs and Washington State; and (4) whether the public
interest supports a stay. See Nken, 556 U.S. at 434.
The first two factors are the most critical. Id.;
see also Washington v. Trump, 847 F.3d 1151, 1164
(9th Cir. 2017).
Likelihood of Success on the Merits
Court finds that Defendants have not made a “strong
showing” that they are likely to succeed on the merits
of their appeal. Nken, 556 U.S. at 434. Each of the
arguments raised by Defendants already has been considered
and rejected by the Court, and Defendants have taken no
action to remedy the constitutional violations that supported
entry of a preliminary injunction in the first place.
(See Dkt. No. 103 at 15-20.) Defendants'
argument that Secretary Mattis has “independent
authority to extend the effective date” for accessions
by transgender enlistees is also ...