The fight for transgender rights was dealt a setback on Monday after the Supreme Court sent a case involving a trans high school student back to a lower court without reaching a decision.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the case on behalf of transgender student Gavin Grimm last year to assist in his fight to use the bathroom consistent with his gender identity at his Virginia school, but his case will now be referred back to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The decision comes after the Trump administration’s recent policy change, which revoked the protections for transgender students in public schools that were put in place under former President Obama last year.
The case was scheduled for argument in late March, but will now go back to a court of appeals, making it highly unlikely that the Supreme Court will hear it this term.
Although Grimm won a court order to use the boys’ bathroom last year, the Supreme Court put the order on hold last August, and its latest announcement now means he will likely graduate before the issue is resolved.
GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard says she remains confident that the courts will ultimately stand with transgender students, but is concerned that they will now be left without protections while the case is reheard.
“The Supreme Court has missed an opportunity to end the painful discrimination currently faced by tens of thousands of transgender students nationwide,” Byard said in a statement. “Additionally, the federal government continues to backtrack on their commitment to supporting transgender students, making it more important than ever that educators, schools, school districts, and state governments make explicitly clear their support through inclusive school values statements and comprehensive policies.”
Joshua Block, an ACLU attorney representing Grimm, said the setback isn’t the “end of the road” and that they “will continue to fight for Gavin and other trans kids in court anywhere in the country.”
Obviously disappointed SCOTUS is remanding Gavin's case to CA4, but it is a detour, not the end of the road. 1
— Joshua Block (@JoshACLU) March 6, 2017