Appeals Court Rules Against Wisconsin School’s Transgender Bathroom Ban

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Great news -- the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against an anti-transgender bathroom ban introduced by a school district in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

In their decision, a unanimous panel of judges found that Kenosha Unified School District provided no evidence that the policy is necessary for safety.

"The School District has not demonstrated that it will suffer any harm from having to comply with the district court’s preliminary injunction order," the appeals court — which hears cases from Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin — held. [...]

Specifically, [Judge Ann Claire Williams] wrote, "The School District has failed to provide any evidence of how the preliminary injunction will harm it, or any of its students or parents. The harms identified by the School District are all speculative and based upon conjecture, whereas the harms to [plaintiff Ash Whitaker] are well‐documented and supported by the record."

The court of appeals affirmed the lower court's injunction, in part, because they believe the challenge brought by a transgender student is likely to succeed on the grounds that it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court also ruled that the anti-transgender policy likely violates Title IX of the Civil Rights Act.

This is not the first time a federal court of appeals has ruled this way, but it is the first such ruling in the post-Obama era. Trump's Justice Department withdrew Title IX guidance introduced by the Obama administration that informed school districts that transgender students are protected by Title IX, but it appears that courts will return similar findings.

This is a fairly simple matter to me. Guidance or not, the Fourteenth Amendment either means something or it doesn't. There's no half-way interpretation of equal protection under the law. The Trump regime and opponents of transgender rights are fighting the Constitution itself.

Come to think of it, unless I missed something, I don't believe a single federal court in the country has ruled in favor of a transgender bathroom ban. The courts may view this as simply as you or I do.

  • David Greenberg

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  • muselet

    “A policy that requires an individual to use a bathroom that does not conform with his or her gender identity punishes that individual for his or her gender non‐conformance, which in turn violates Title IX,” [Judge Ann Claire Williams] wrote for the panel.

    Regarding the constitutional argument, she noted that “the School District argues that since it treats all boys and girls the same, it does not violate the Equal Protection Clause.”

    “This is untrue,” Williams wrote for the court. “Rather, the School District treats transgender students like Ash, who fail to conform to the sex‐based stereotypes associated with their assigned sex at birth, differently.”

    Because of that, Williams explained the school district would have to show “exceedingly persuasive” reasons justifying the policy.

    “This burden has not been met here,” she wrote.

    Next stop, the Supreme Court (fearless prediction: 5-4 in favor of the school district, on the constitutional grounds that transgender people are icky).

    For now, though, we can bask in the warm glow of sanity.


  • Badgerite

    It is a made up issue. Fake, even. And the evidence presented in court proved this.
    This is the court system at it’s best. As an interface of society with reality.
    Determining what is real. And what is, indeed, …..FAKE.
    Transgender people just want to use the bathroom that comports with who they are.
    They pose no threat to anyone. Never have. To the contrary, these bans actually pose a threat to them. They subject them to animus and ridicule. Truth be told, that is the intent of the bans to begin with.

  • ninjaf

    At least one of our branches of government still appears to be functioning properly.

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