US Supreme Court Punts on Transgender Rights, Sending Case Back to Lower Court

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday punted on transgender rights, sending a critical case involving bathroom access at a Virginia high school back to a lower court.

In the wake of the Trump administration’s revocation of Title IX protections for transgender students, “[t]he justices said Monday they have opted not to decide whether federal anti-discrimination law gives high school senior Gavin Grimm the right to use the boys’ bathroom in his Virginia school,” the Associated Press reported. 

They sent the case back to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to reconsider in light of the new guidance from the Trump administration.

The Fourth Circuit’s earlier ruling, which was in Grimm’s favor, is now wiped off the books.

ACLU deputy legal director Louise Melling said online:

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But ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio, while calling the decision “wildly disappointing,” vowed that the fight for transgender rights would continue:

“This is a detour, not the end of the road, and we’ll continue to fight for Gavin and other transgender people to ensure that they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve,” added Joshua Block, senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s LGBT Project and lead counsel for Grimm. 

While Grimm’s case would have been the Supreme Court’s “first encounter with transgender rights,” as the New York Times put it, the paper also noted: “There are other cases on transgender rights in the pipeline, including a challenge to a North Carolina law that requires transgender people to use bathrooms in government buildings that correspond with the gender listed on their birth certificates. The law has drawn protests, boycotts and lawsuits.”

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