-- The Supreme Court today temporarily blocked a decision by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that would have allowed a transgender Virginia student to use the restroom that corresponds to his gender identity.
Gavin Grimm, 17, a transgender teen who identifies as a boy, sued the Gloucester County School Board, challenging as discriminatory its policy stating the use of bathrooms “shall be limited to the corresponding biological genders.”
A federal court sided with Grimm and concluded that Grimm should be allowed to use the restroom that corresponds with his gender identity.
The Gloucester County School Board asked the Supreme Court to stay the lower court decision arguing, “To prevent this irreparable harm to the Board and to school districts, officials, parents, and children throughout the Fourth Circuit and the entire Nation, the Board respectfully asks for a recall and stay of the G.G. mandate and a stay of the preliminary injunction.”
The school district also argued that parents should have a say "compliance with the preliminary injunction will also put parents’ constitutional rights in jeopardy. Depriving parents of any say over whether their children should be exposed to members of the opposite biological sex, possibly in a state of full or complete undress in intimate settings deprives parents of their right.”
But Grimm’s lawyers in response said, "It does not apply to locker rooms, showers or other situations in which students may be in a state of full or complete undress, and it certainly does not extend to every school district in the Fourth Circuit or the entire Nation. No irreparable harm will occur if G. is allowed to use the boys’ restroom..”
Wednesday the Supreme Court granted the school district a temporary stay, which will last until the Court either hears and decides the case, or denies the School Board's request for full review.
It takes five votes to grant a stay. Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito voted to grant the stay, and Justice Stephen Breyer, who ordinarily votes with the Court's liberal Justices, crossed over to cast what is known as a "courtesy fifth" vote, explaining that because "we are currently in recess, and that granting a stay will preserve the status quo (as of the time the Court of Appeals made its decision) until the Court considers the forthcoming petition for certiorari, I vote to grant the application as a courtesy.”
Joshua Block of the ACLU expressed disappointment with the Court’s decision, “Gavin will have to begin another school year isolated from his peers and stigmatized by the Gloucester County school board just because he’s a boy who is transgender. We remain hopeful that Gavin will ultimately prevail.”
The Supreme Court has yet to decide whether to hear the case, a decision that won't be made until – at the earliest- late September.