The 4th Circuit Refused to Rehear a Transgender Rights Case

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled against a school board in Virginia that voted to prohibit transgender students from using a bathroom that corresponds with the gender they identify as. The court said that policy was unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The school board sought to have the case reconsidered by the full panel of 4th Circuit judges, but their request has been denied.

The Gloucester County School Board had asked the full U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decision by a three-judge panel last month in favor of Gavin Grimm, a student at the local high school.

The request was denied since none of court's 15 judges asked for a vote on the rehearing, the court said.

The fact that not a single judge out all 15 of them thought the case should be reheard is very significant.

The court's initial ruling that anti-transgender bathroom policy is unconstitutional sent a strong signal that North Carolina's "bathroom bill" HB2 will be struck down when it reaches the 4th Circuit, but this makes it crystal clear. The court's view of the matter is evidently unanimous and there isn't a single judge sitting on the circuit bench that is sympathetic to the legal arguments (or a lack thereof) behind anti-transgender policy.

The only reason North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory would continue his fight for HB2 at this point is if he hopes to eventually appeal to case to the Supreme Court because the 4th Circuit is going to rule against him. How much money will the law and Governor McCrory's legal battles cost the state in the meantime?

  • Badgerite

    I believe the Supreme Court as it is currently constituted would likely go 5/3 in favor of the transgender student. But if Anthony Kennedy went the other way it would still be a 4/4 tie. Which would uphold the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision.

  • muselet

    I’m reminded of an old “Bloom County” cartoon in which a judge hearing a ridiculous case bangs his gavel and says, “Get out of my courtroom, you loons!”


  • Christopher Foxx

    How much money will the law and Governor McCrory’s legal battles cost the state in the meantime?

    That’s not something McCrory and his cronies are even considering.

    • D_C_Wilson

      Someone should keep a tally and submit him the bill once the case is finally resolved.

      • Christopher Foxx

        Wouldn’t that be sweet? If there was a “Foregone Conclusions” statute that could be used to hold politicians accountable for all the times they waste tax dollars and resources pursuing lawsuits that are clearly going to fail.