Supreme Court Sends Transgender Teen's Bathroom Case Back to Lower Court | News
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Monday, March 6, 2017

Supreme Court Sends Transgender Teen's Bathroom Case Back to Lower Court

Posted by on Mon, Mar 6, 2017 at 12:01 PM

The Supreme Court has asked a lower court to reconsider its previous ruling in a favor of a transgender student who sought to use the boys' bathroom at his Virginia school.

The case, involving seventeen-year-old Gavin Grimm and the Gloucester County school board, is being watched closely in North Carolina, because a ruling would have a direct bearing on portions of House Bill 2
that require people to use public restrooms corresponding to their birth certificates. 
click to enlarge Gavin Grimm
  • Gavin Grimm

The Supreme Court was set to hear oral arguments in the Virginia case later this month, but on Monday the curt decided to vacate a prior ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that the Gloucester County school board had violated federal Title IX anti-discrimination rules by not letting Grimm, who was born female, use the boys' restroom.

Now the lower court will have to reconsider the case in light of the Trump administration's
interpretation of Title IX. (The delay also means that President Trump’s appointment will likely be on the bench before the case returns to the Supreme Court.)

Last month, the education and justice departments reversed guidance from the Obama administration that Title IX protections against discrimination based on sex extend to gender identity, giving transgender students the rights to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identities.

"The guidance issued by the previous administration has given rise to several legal questions," education secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement announcing the reversal. "As a result, a federal court in August 2016 issued a nationwide injunction barring the Department from enforcing a portion of its application. Since that time, the Department has not enforced that part of the guidance, thus there is no immediate impact to students by rescinding this guidance." (You can read what Attorney General Jeff Sessions said about the matter here).

Grimm is expected to address the Supreme Court's decision at noon today in a Facebook Live chat with the Human Rights Campaign.
"We’re disappointed SCOTUS isn’t hearing Gavin’s case this term, but support for Gavin shows rights of trans people can't be ignored," tweeted the ACLU, which filed a lawsuit against the Gloucester County school board on Grimm's behalf.

The Grimm case was also central to an HB2 repeal compromise Durham Mayor William Bell recently pitched to Governor Roy Cooper and legislative leaders. In a letter, Bell recommended that the law be repealed and in exchange loval governments would hold off on passing nondiscrimination ordinances for six months or until the Supreme Court ruled on the Virginia case.

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