What now? Court asks parties to weigh in on next steps in transgender bathroom case
on Feb 23, 2017 at 8:18 pm
This evening the Supreme Court asked both sides in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., a challenge to a Virginia school board’s bathroom policy, to submit letters to the court discussing “how the case should proceed in light of” yesterday’s revocation of the Obama administration’s prior guidance. In that guidance, the federal government had interpreted a 1975 regulation to require schools to “treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit had relied heavily on the now-revoked guidance in striking down the school board’s policy, which instead required students to use the bathroom that corresponds with the sex that they were assigned at birth.
Both the school board and G.G. – the plaintiff in the case, who identifies as a boy and wants to be allowed to use the boys’ bathroom – had previously advised the court that the case should still proceed even if the Obama administration’s guidance were withdrawn. Even without the guidance, they contended, the justices could and should decide whether the board’s policy violates Title IX, a federal civil rights law that bars discrimination in education. Today’s request, which appears as an entry in the court’s docket for the case, suggests that the court would like to hear more about that argument and why, in the parties’ view, the case should still go forward even now that the guidance at the heart of the 4th Circuit’s ruling is no longer valid.
The deadline for the board and G.G. to file their letters is 2 p.m. next Wednesday, March 1. The case has been scheduled for oral argument on Tuesday, March 28.