The Supreme Court will not decide the hot-button issue of transgender bathroom rights after all.
The justices on Monday vacated a lower court’s ruling in favor of Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old Virginia high school senior seeking to use the bathroom corresponding to his gender identity. It did so because the Trump administration withdrew guidance to schools that had instructed them to grant transgender students’ bathroom preferences. The case had been scheduled for oral argument later this month.
By rescinding the Obama administration’s policy, the Departments of Justice and Education eliminated the basis for the appeals court’s earlier decision in Grimm’s favor. While the Supreme Court could have decided the case on other grounds, it decided instead to wipe out the initial ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit and give it another chance to consider the case.
Lawyers for Grimm and the Gloucester County School Board had urged the court to decide the case despite the change in the federal government’s position on the issue. But the justices likely reasoned that they could deadlock 4-4 on the case while federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination is pending, rendering their decision moot.
The lawyers had said the high court still could decide whether a 1972 prohibition against sex discrimination in education requires that students can use sex-separated facilities based on their gender identity.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Richard Wolf