Supreme Court Will Not Hear Transgender Student's Case This Term

Posted March 07, 2017

The Supreme Court was expected to have to weigh in on transgender bathroom rights sooner or later.

Monday's announcement vacates a lower court's decision in the case of Gavin Grimm, a student who is seeking to use school bathrooms that align with his gender identity.

Citing that the federal government has changed its position on the matter, The Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit should re-examine the case. The school board has a policy stating that all students must use the restroom that comports with their biological sex rather than their gender identity.

The Trump administration rescinded landmark protections for transgender students ordered by former President Barack Obama past year that had permitted them to use bathrooms that matched their gender identity.

Due to Trump's administration throwing out Obama's guidance that trans kids should be treated equally, the case has returned back to a lower court. In its ruling, the Fourth Circuit had deferred to the Obama administration's guidance that public school must accommodate their transgender students under Title IX, a regulation that prohibits federally-funded schools from discriminating based on sex.

However, it has now sent the case back to a lower court after Donald Trump's administration issued new policy guidance relevant to the case.

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S. Kyle Duncan, the Gloucester County School Board's lawyer in the Supreme Court, declined to comment publicly pending his client's approval of a statement. That victory, however, was temporarily on hold while the Supreme Court acted on the case in an appeal by the school board. He asserts he should be able to use the bathroom of his gender identity under Title IX, which is a national law that protects students against sexual discrimination.

"The Fourth Circuit Court, which will now rehear the case, should allow local schools to find solutions that benefit everyone's safety and privacy", said Ryan Anderson, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Grimm, who found out about the decision while he was in class, was also on the call and said that students like him are in limbo because of the Supreme Court's decision. Meanwhile, Grimm's case was still making its way through the courts.

In undoing the Obama order protecting transgender rights, the Trump administration said it required more time to evaluate the issue and put forward its own stance. He has covered the Supreme Court since November 2006.

"Title IX is the same today as it was yesterday and we are confident the courts will agree with us on that", said Block.