SCOTUS has decided not to rule in a case that could have established the right of transgender students to choose which bathroom they use. Gloucester County School Board v. Gavin Grimm was scrapped and the case remanded to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for further consideration in light of the guidance document issued by the Department of Education and Department of Justice revoking Obama’s transgender directive to schools.
Via the Advocate:
Today, the hobbled court, with only its eight justices instead of nine, vacated the case. That means it not only didn’t take the case — which would’ve meant Grimm’s win at the lower court had stood — but also that the justices undid the appeals court ruling and asked them to start again.
This doesn’t necessarily mean Grimm’s case won’t still end up at the Supreme Court. But the change in law initiated by Sessions and Trump now means the case must be decided only on Title IX. From the perspective of Sessions and opponents of trans rights, that’s the best possible outcome. They’re hoping a do-over comes with a different outcome.
“This announcement speaks volumes to the ways that President Trump’s actions are already having devastating consequences for transgender youth across the country,” said Matt McTighe, executive director of Freedom for All Americans, in a statement. “All students, including transgender students, deserve to participate fully and succeed in school, and to feel safe and respected while doing so.”
“The Supreme Court has missed an opportunity to end the painful discrimination currently faced by tens of thousands of transgender students nationwide,” said Eliza Byard, executive director for GLSEN. They have been “left in limbo,” she said.
The National LGBTQ Task Force’s Stacey Long Simmons, director of public policy and government affairs, called the court’s move “extremely disappointing.” But the Task Force notes that the justices haven’t yet interpreted any law. “That said, nothing about today’s action changes the meaning of the law: Title IX and the Constitution protect Gavin and other transgender students from discrimination,” said Simmons, confident Grimm would ultimately win.