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Supreme Court Hands a Win to Transgender Students in Case that Affects School Locker Rooms

06-29-2021
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In this June 8, 2021 photo, the Supreme Court building is seen in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Young people and transgender issues have become flashpoints in the culture wars across the country, but now the U.S. Supreme Court is refusing to weigh in on the issue.

The high court on Monday rejected a Virginia school board's appeal to reinstate its transgender bathroom ban, marking a win for a trans student who sued his school for discrimination.

Seven years ago, Gloucester High School barred 15-year-old Gavin Grimm from using the boy's bathroom, arguing that Grimm remained an anatomical female. 

Grimm's lawyers argued that federal laws protect such students.

In 2017, the case reached the Supreme Court, but it was canceled after President Trump reversed an Obama administration rule directing schools to allow young people to use the restroom of their gender identity, according to The Washington Post

The Daily Wire reports the Department of Education under the Trump administration overruled the Obama recommendations, writing:

"These guidance documents take the position that the prohibitions on discrimination 'on the basis of sex' in Title IX...require access to sex-segregated facilities based on gender identity.  These guidance documents do not, however, contain extensive legal analysis or explain how the position is consistent with the express language of Title IX, nor did they undergo any formal public process."

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The high court refused to hear the high school's appeal to reinstate the ban. But that decision does not mean the court agrees with previous rulings.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito said the Supreme Court should have taken the case, according to NBC News

There were two notable changes since the last time this case was brought before the high court. The court ruled last year that a federal civil rights law bans employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity. The Biden administration now says that ruling applies to Title IX.   

Title IX was a law passed in 1972 to protect against discrimination in education based on biological sex. But the U.S. Department of Education has reinterpreted that law to claim that discrimination based on a student's sexual orientation or gender identity will also be treated as a violation of Title IX. 

Becket Law noted: "If 'sex' were redefined in Title IX, it would be redefined in many other areas where Congress has not had opportunity to consider the consequences. For example, if the Department of Education's definition of 'sex' under Title IX were adopted, the definition of 'sex' in the Affordable Health Care Act would also be impacted. As a result, some religious health care providers could be required to perform gender transition surgeries on children against their best medical judgment."

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