A Victory for Trans Teens as Supreme Court Declines To Hear Appeal in Bathroom Case
The Supreme Court today declined to revisit a case about how transgender students are treated with regard to bathrooms in public schools. It’s leaving a lower court ruling intact that says it’s unconstitutional for a school district to try to force a transgender student to continue using the bathroom facilities corresponding to their sex at birth.
In Monday’s orders, the Supreme Court rejected a petition to hear Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board, a case that the Supreme Court originally planned to hear all the way back in 2016. The case has instead followed a winding road through three presidential administrations.
Gavin Grimm was a transgender male student at Gloucester High School in Gloucester County, Virginia. He began his transition while in school in 2014 and sought to get permission to start using male restrooms. The school board forbade it and set in place a policy of requiring trans teens to use either the restroom of their birth sex or a unisex bathroom.
Grimm, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), sued the school district, arguing that this treatment was a form of sex discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The Department of Justice under President Barack Obama agreed with a court interpretation that federal protections against sex discrimination also covered discrimination against trans students. It got involved in the case on Grimm’s side. The Supreme Court then agreed to hear the case to attempt to answer the question of whether trans discrimination counts as sex discrimination.
Then, President Donald Trump was elected president. Before the Supreme Court actually heard the arguments, the Department of Justice in 2017, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, withdrew its legal guidance supporting Grimm’s position. The Justice Department under Trump argued that sex and gender identity wer
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