WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Monday blocked an effort by the Trump administration to erase protections for transgender patients against discrimination by doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies, dealing a blow to the broader legal reasoning it has used to try to roll back transgender rights across the government.
Judge Frederic Block of the United States District Court in Brooklyn found that the administration’s new rule, which was finalized in mid-June by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights, appeared to be incompatible with a Supreme Court case, decided days later, establishing that employers cannot discriminate against transgender people in the workplace.
His ruling temporarily blocks enforcement of the new rule, which was due to take effect Tuesday, while a lawsuit moved forward.
“When the Supreme Court announces a major decision, it seems a sensible thing to pause and reflect on the decision’s impact,” Judge Block wrote. “Since H.H.S. has been unwilling to take that path voluntarily, the court now imposes it.”
The legal issues in the two cases are closely related: Both hinge on what it means to discriminate on the basis of sex.
The administration’s position was that discrimination against transgender people