Supreme Court Sends Historic Transgender Equality Case Back to Lower Court

Courtesy Jamie Bruesehoff

Now that the Trump administration has officially rescinded that policy, the Supreme Court has made a decision to send the case down to a lower for further review.

Today, the Supreme Court sent the Grimm case back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals following the Trump Administration's decision to rescind protective school guidance for transgender students.

It was not immediately clear what the high court's action would mean for an injunction that had been issued after the 4th Circuit ruled previous year that Grimm could use the boys' restrooms at Gloucester County High School.

Monday's decision comes after the Trump administration pulled back federal guidelines issued under the Obama administration advising schools to let students use the bathroom of their chosen gender, not biological birth. It said refusing to allow students to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity would violate a federal law known as Title IX that bans sex discrimination.

The decision comes after the Trump administration's recent policy change, which revoked the protections for transgender students in public schools that were put in place under former President Obama past year.

The Supreme Court was scheduled to begin hearing Grimm's case on March 28.

Jamie Bruesehoff
Jamie Bruesehoff

"If you don't have a bathroom it's very hard to exist in society and in public".

Before the Supreme Court passed on the case, 18 states supporting Gavin Grimm filed a friend-of-the-court brief. She said they wanted a final determination from the Supreme Court affirming that Title IX does in fact cover transgender students. The Trump administration's new guidance has reversed the Obama-era overreach, returning the question of bathroom policy to local authorities, thereby permitting states, school boards, and local communities to determine the best practice for their schools. Now the 4 Circuit will have to decide whether Title IX, read on its own, prohibits gender identity discrimination as a form of "sex discrimination".

The Fourth Circuit will now handle the case again, in the new context of there being no federal guidance on how to treat transgender students.

Grimm was sitting in class on Monday morning when text messages started flooding his phone with the Supreme Court's announcement.

"That said, nothing about today's action changes the meaning of the law: Title IX and the Constitution protect Gavin and other transgender students from discrimination".


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