The Supreme Court announced today that it is sending a landmark transgender rights case back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to be reconsidered in light of the Departments of Justice and Education rescinding of a Title IX guidance clarifying protections for transgender students. Grimm and his legal time will hold a media teleconference at 2 p.m. today to discuss the developments.
The action in the case of high school student Gavin Grimm means that the Supreme Court will not hear arguments on March 28 as originally scheduled. The case is Gloucester County School Board v. G.G.
The Fourth Circuit originally ruled in favor of Grimm in his case challenging the Gloucester County School Board’s decision to force him to use a separate, single-stall restroom that no other student is required to use.
Joshua Block, senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s LGBT Project and lead counsel for Grimm, had the following reaction:
“Nothing about today’s action changes the meaning of the law. Title IX and the Constitution protect Gavin and other transgender students from discrimination. While we’re disappointed that the Supreme Court will not be hearing Gavin’s case this term, the overwhelming level of support shown for Gavin and trans students by people across the country throughout this process shows that the American people have already moved in the right direction and that the rights of trans people cannot be ignored. 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.”
GLSEN also reacted:
“The Supreme Court has missed an opportunity to end the painful discrimination currently faced by tens of thousands of transgender students nationwide,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN Executive Director in response to SCOTUS’ decision to decline to hear the case of transgender student Gavin Grimm, instead referring it back to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. “The position previously taken by the Departments of Education and Justice lifted up best practices for K-12 schools to improve the lives of students and provide a clear path to opportunity. We remain confident the courts will ultimately stand with Gavin and other transgender students in seeking access to school facilities that correspond with their gender identity and determining their gender-affirming name and pronouns, but in the meantime trans students are left without clear protections from our Federal government while the case is reheard. Additionally, the federal government continues to backtrack on their commitment to supporting transgender students, making it more important than ever that educators, schools, school districts, and state governments make explicitly clear their support through inclusive school values statements and comprehensive policies.”
The National Education Association responds:
“We, as educators, have a moral, legal, and professional duty to support all students, including our transgender students, and nothing about the Supreme Court’s decision today to remand Gavin’s case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit changes that. While we are disappointed that the Supreme Court deferred deciding whether Gavin’s rights were violated when he was discriminated against at school for being transgender, we are confident that the Fourth Circuit, and eventually the Supreme Court, will ultimately vindicate his rights. Most courts have already concluded that federal law protects transgender students, and we fully expect that the Fourth Circuit will agree.”