Court Rules Transgender Bathroom Bans Can Be Challenged Without Education Department Guidance

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

A federal district court judge in Virginia has ruled in favor of Gavin Grimm, the transgender student who sued the Gloucester County School District for prohibiting him from using the boys restroom at school.

The judge ruled that Grimm has standing to challenge the school's ban under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act which bars discrimination based on sex.

U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen in Norfolk rejected a bid by the Gloucester County School Board to dismiss the civil rights lawsuit filed by student Gavin Grimm.

The judge said Grimm has valid claims under a federal law, called Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, that bars discrimination on the basis of sex in education as well as the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

If it feels like you've seen this movie before, that's because you have.

Grimm's case has already been elevated to the Supreme Court level once before, but the court remanded the case back to lower courts after Trump's Education Department eliminated guidance that says Title IX applies to gender identity.

The case is now slowly moving its way back to the Supreme Court, again, and there's no reason to think the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in D.C. will not rule in Grimm's favor. Again.

The Fourth Circuit previously ruled that transgender bathroom bans violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. That doesn't change just because Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has decided that words have no meaning.

  • muselet

    When the Supremes played hot potato with this case before, they were hoping the openly-political branches of the federal government would take the hit. That didn’t happen and the hot potato is headed back to them.

    My guess is that the five conservative Supremes will rule that because Gavin Grimm has already graduated from high school, his lawsuit is therefore no longer timely. This would accomplish three things: it would keep them from having to decide whether that particular variety of icky person has constitutional rights, it would create a very high barrier for bringing a civil rights lawsuit on the question of gender identity, and it would hurt a vulnerable population. It’s not often Righties hit a trifecta like that.


    • JMAshby

      I could see the Supreme Court allowing a Fourth Circuit opinion to stand if there are no other challenges.

      Unless I lost track, I’m not aware of any other challenges right now. I think the states that were considering a ban gave up after North Carolina’s bathroom bill was struck down. Even Texas failed to pass a bathroom bill during a special session called by Gov. Greg Abbot just for that purpose.

      • muselet

        You may well be right. I’m having a difficult time calibrating my cynicism these days.


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