Just a few days after President Trump revealed his choice to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, news circulated that a major case will be heard by the Supreme Court next month.
From the Washington Post:
The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on March 28 in the case of a transgender teenager from Virginia who sued his school board for the right to use the boys’ bathroom, a case that could shape how public schools across the country accommodate transgender students.
Gavin Grimm, now a senior at Gloucester High School, sued in 2015 after the board barred him from the boys’ bathroom. His lawyers argue that the policy, which requires students to use bathrooms aligned with their biological sex, violates a federal law against sex discrimination in public schools.
The case comes as local education authorities and the federal government grapple for control over policies concerning transgender students. Many state and local school districts have implemented policies that mandate students use the bathroom that matches their scientific gender, while the federal government — under the Obama Administration — made the case that for a discrimination issue within Washington’s legal authority.
As the back and forth went on, it became increasingly clear the issue would have to be settled by the courts. Before the Supreme Court took the case on appeal, lower courts ruled on the side of the federal government:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond sided with Grimm in April, deferring to the Obama administration’s position that federal law protected his right to use the boys’ bathroom. A U.S. district judge later granted Grimm a preliminary injunction that would have allowed him to use the boys’ bathroom.
The reality of the lower court ruling could present a problem for local authorities looking to maintain control of their own policies, as it’s unclear whether President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, will have completed his confirmation proceedings by the time the Supreme Court hears the case. If the traditional court balance becomes a factor, a 4 vs. 4 split would result in the lower court ruling being upheld.
Democrats are sure to do everything they can to block Gorsuch from taking his seat on the bench, so it will be interesting to see if Republicans can push the process through before this case is decided.
[Note: This post was written by Michael Lee. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee]