Gloucester School Board asks US Supreme Court for delay in transgender case

Edith Mcgee
March 4, 2017

The majority of lower courts that have considered the issue have agreed that discriminating against a transgender individual is sex discrimination under federal civil rights laws and the Equal Protection Clause.

Lawyers on both sides of the dispute urged the justices to decide the case even though the Trump administration on February 22 rescinded Obama administration guidance to public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

The Supreme Court gave new life Wednesday to a challenge by African-Americans in Virginia who say lawmakers packed some legislative districts with black voters to make other districts whiter and more Republican.

The case has had a somewhat tortuous history. The school board changed policy to require a use of facilities conforming to "biological gender".

The Virginia school board that wants to keep a transgender teen from using the boys' restroom at his high school is calling on the Supreme Court to delay consideration of the case to allow the Trump administration to weigh in.

The Obama administration guidance that's now been withdrawn was only one issue in the case.

The decision by the Trump administration to rescind the previous administration's guidance complicates the first question and whether the Supreme Court would even consider it, but the second question is still relevant.

The sector's unifying voice is another jab at the President Donald Trump administration. He's won his case at the local and federal level and a Supreme court hearing is set for the second half of this month.

Some believe the school board is simply delaying until Neil Gorsuch, Trump's pick for the seat vacated by Antonin Scalia is confirmed as a justice-thus tipping a verdict in its favor.

In a 12th district that the high court did examine, it found that the lines were properly drawn.

Grimm alleges the school board denied him use of the boys' bathroom, which would be a violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which elicits that students can not be discriminated against or excluded from events on the basis of sex. "Likewise, one Meeting (among others) of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) has formally stated its 'understand [ing] that God, who loves all people unconditionally, is leading the Meeting to honor the gender identity of each person, as that person determines it'".

"I just don't know how you arrive at a different outcome without redrawing them because they've already proved - in fact, they admitted - that they drew it with this threshold", Kelly said. "Transgender students like Gavin are entitled to the full protection of the law, and must be affirmed, respected and protected in the classroom and beyond". The Supreme Court has made clear, time after time, that the government's particular treatment of a group of persons may not be justified by reference to the religiously motivated dislike of the group such a justification risks violating separation of church and state. The rules state that any briefing filed needs to bear "the caption of the case as appropriate in this Court". Nor should the court in any way rely on the religious beliefs of some for its own analysis of Title IX.

"The amici states have important interests in ensuring that their transgender populations, including students, college faculty and other state employees, do not experience indignity and discrimination when they travel to other states", the brief said.

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