‘Incredible Victory’ for Trans Rights: Supreme Court Rejects School Bathroom Case

In what civil rights advocates hailed as “an incredible victory,” the United States Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the case of Gavin Grimm, a former Virginia high school student who in 2015 sued his county board of education over its policy of denying transgender pupils use of restrooms corresponding with their gender identity.

“Trans youth deserve to use the bathroom in peace without being humiliated and stigmatized by their own school boards and elected officials.”
—Gavin Grimm, plaintiff

The high court’s move lets stand G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, a 2020 ruling in which the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found that policies segregating transgender students from their peers are unconstitutional.

Specifically, Grimm—who was represented by the ACLU and ACLU of Virginia—successfully argued that the school board’s discriminatory policy violated Title IX, the federal law barring discrimination on the basis of sex in education.

Grimm’s legal battle began when, as a 15-year-old Gloucester High School sophomore in 2015, he sued the county school board. Earlier that year, the Obama administration’s Department of Education issued guidance stating that “a school generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.”

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia dismissed Grimm’s case. He appealed, and in April 2016 the Fourth Circuit ruled in his favor.

However, the Supreme Court subsequently blocked an order allowing Grimm to use restrooms matching his gender identity, with the justices announcing in October 2016 that they would review the Fourth Circuit ruling.

Following the election of former President Donald Trump—whose Education Department reversed the Obama-era guidance—the Supreme Court vacated and remanded the case to the Fourth Circuit, which, after last year’s landmark Bostock v. Clayton County SCOTUS decision, ruled in favor of Grimm.

Grimm welcomed the Supreme Court’s move on Monday.

“I am glad that my yearslong fight to have my school see me for who I am is over,” he said in a statement. “Being forced to use the nurse’s room, a private bathroom, and the girl’s room was humiliating for me, and having to go to out-of-the-way bathrooms severely interfered with my education.”

“Trans youth deserve to use the bathroom in peace without being humiliated and stigmatized by their own school boards and elected officials,” Grimm asserted.

Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project, said in a statement that “this is the third time in recent years that the Supreme Court has allowed appeals court decisions in support of transgender students to stand.”

“This is an incredible victory for Gavin and for transgender students around the country,” Block added. “Our work is not yet done, and the ACLU is continuing to fight against anti-trans laws targeting trans youth in states around the country.”

According to the LGBTQ+ advocacy group GLAAD, there are scores of Republican-sponsored bills under consideration in a majority of U.S. states targeting the rights of transgender students. Numerous states have already passed laws or implemented executive orders erasing or limiting

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Pelosi rejects White House stimulus offer as ‘wholly insufficient’

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday sent a letter to her Democratic colleagues calling the Trump administration’s latest stimulus offer “wholly insufficient.”
  • Over the weekend, the White House proposed a $1.8 trillion measure, a figure that’s too high for many Senate Republicans and too low for House Democrats.
  • On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows urged Democrats to pass a measure repurposing leftover funds from the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Trump administration’s latest stimulus proposal is “grossly inadequate,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to her Democratic colleagues on Sunday, suggesting Congress and the White House are no closer to a deal on a coronavirus relief package.

Over the weekend, the White House proposed a $1.8 trillion stimulus measure, angering both Senate Republicans, who consider that number far too high, and House Democrats, who passed a $2.2 trillion proposal last month.

The White House proposal includes a $400 boost in weekly unemployment insurance, $1,200 stimulus checks for US adults, and $1,000 checks for each child, The Washington Post reported.

Democrats have pushed for a $600 increase in weekly unemployment benefits and $1,200 checks for child dependents, as well as substantially more funding for state and local governments.

In her Oct. 11 letter, Pelosi decried the administration’s proposal, saying the disagreements have to do with more than the top-line numbers.

“[I]n terms of addressing testing, tracing, and treatment, what the Trump administration has offered is wholly insufficient,” she wrote.

Senate Republicans are equally unimpressed, CNN reported. “I don’t get it,” Florida Sen. Rick Scott told White House officials on a phone call this weekend, two sources told the news outlet. Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn said the larger White House proposal would “deflate” the GOP base, the sources said.

With a deal between the White House and Congress seemingly out of reach, the Trump administration is also lobbying for a stimulus measure that would repurpose $135 billion in leftover funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, Politico reported.

Democrats have previously shown little interest in the idea, complaining about a lack of transparency with respect to how PPP funds were used — and seeking a much larger stimulus for an economy in recession.

In their appeal, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows urged an end to the impasse, which last week saw President Trump call off negotiations before reversing himself in the wake of bipartisan anger.

“The all-or-nothing approach is an unacceptable response to the American people,” the officials wrote.

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Appeals court rejects rehearing in transgender bathroom case

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Wednesday denied a request for a full-court review of a ruling that a Virginia school board’s transgender bathroom ban is unconstitutional.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond rejected a request from the Gloucester County School Board for a rehearing to review a ruling that the board’s policy discriminated against Gavin Grimm, a transgender student who was barred from using the boys bathrooms at Gloucester High School.

The board’s policy required Grimm to use restrooms that corresponded with his sex assigned at birth — female — or to use private restrooms.

A federal judge in Norfolk ruled against the school board last year, a ruling that was upheld last month by a three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit.

The school board had argued that laws protect against discrimination based on sex, not gender identity. Because Grimm had not undergone sex-reassignment surgery and still had female genitalia, the board’s position was that he remained anatomically a female.

An attorney for the school board did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Grimm filed his lawsuit in 2015, saying he suffered from urinary tract infections from avoiding school bathrooms as well as suicidal thoughts that led to hospitalization.

The lawsuit became a federal test case when it was supported by the administration of then-President Barack Obama. It was scheduled to go before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2017, but the high court hearing was canceled after President Donald Trump rescinded an Obama-era directive that students can choose bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity.

Grimm, now 21, graduated in 2017. He lives in California and is an activist for transgender rights.

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TikTok reaches deal with Oracle, rejects Microsoft as White House deadline looms

TikTok has reached an agreement to partner with software giant Oracle, a landmark deal that could redefine how the U.S. and China square off over the reach of their homegrown technology companies.



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The deal, which was confirmed Sunday by a source with direct knowledge, comes after the Trump administration pressured TikTok to sell its U.S. business over concerns about the threat to national security. The administration alleged that the company’s ties to China through its parent company, ByteDance, meant it would have to hand over data about Americans if asked by China’s government. TikTok has denied that it would hand over data, which it stressed is stored outside China.

The source would not detail which parts of the technology were being taken over by Oracle, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday. Microsoft had been considered a front-runner to buy TikTok US until this weekend. Microsoft said earlier that ByteDance had alerted the company that it was passing on its proposal.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview with CNBC on Monday morning that the White House had received a proposal from TikTok for an Oracle partnership.

ByteDance and Oracle still face several hurdles in completing a deal. First, they will need to win approval from the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, an interagency group that is tasked with overseeing foreign investments in the U.S. A source familiar with the negotiations said both parties believed their deal was structured to satisfy all of the committee’s national security concerns. Even then, the deal still remains vulnerable to the larger geopolitical tensions between Washington and Beijing, and both governments could move to scuttle a deal if they deemed it politically advantageous.

TikTok spokesperson Hilary McQuaide declined to comment, saying the company would not comment “on rumors or speculation.”

The short-form video app burst into popular culture in the past few years, becoming one of the few recent social media upstarts to offer a credible rival to U.S. giants like Facebook and Snapchat. The app, which gives users the ability to create short videos matched to sound or music, has created its own generation of celebrities and countless dance trends.

TikTok head of U.S. operations says they do not pose national security threat

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But its ties to China emerged in the past year as a quiet point of contention in Washington. In November, TikTok was mentioned as a national security threat, and the U.S. government opened an investigation. Since then, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the U.S. was “looking at” banning the app, and President Donald Trump has threatened to do so several times.

“There’s a bit of a reciprocity process going on here, since China doesn’t allow U.S. tech companies like Facebook and Google,” said Paul Triolo, head of global technology policy at the Eurasia Group. “All of these actions are part of an effort by China hawks

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DHS rejects House Democrats’ call for Wolf to testify

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Friday said it was rejecting Democrats’ call for acting agency Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfMicrosoft warns Russia, China and Iran targeting US election Hillicon Valley: Whistleblower alleges top DHS officials sought to alter intelligence products to fit Trump’s comments | House panel details ‘serious’ concerns around elections in four states | Irish agency investigates Facebook’s EU-US data transfer Former DHS chiefs call for stepped-up response to election threats MORE to appear before the panel, arguing it’s unprecedented for a nominee to testify during the confirmation process on unrelated matters.

In a letter sent to House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonDemocrats divided over 1998 embassy bombing settlement Russia ‘amplifying’ concerns around mail-in voting to undermine election: report Hillicon Valley: Democrats demand answers over Russian interference bulletin | Google Cloud wins defense contract for cancer research | Cyberattack disrupts virtual classes MORE (D-Miss.) on Friday — which comes in response to Thompson’s letter requesting Wolf’s presence at a hearing titled “Worldwide Threats to the Homeland” slated to take place on Sept. 17 — Assistant DHS Secretary Beth Spivey slammed the assertion that Wolf’s appearance is necessary, noting the agency offered to allow senior official Ken Cuccinelli to appear before the committee to testify on threats instead.

“I had written to you on September 8, 2020 that it would be contrary to standard practice for  the Acting Secretary, as the President’s selection (and announced at the time as the President’s future  nominee) to be Secretary of Homeland Security, to testify before the Committee on Homeland  Security on a subject matter unrelated to his nomination while that nomination was pending,” Spivey wrote, arguing the “arguments in your [Thompson’s] letter are without merit.”

Spivey noted that Trump formally nominated Wolf to officially serve as secretary Sept. 10, asserting that Wolf will not testify until he is officially confirmed. She added that it is a standard that has long been practiced by both parties. 

“From that moment onward, the Acting Secretary became unavailable to testify before Congress on matters unrelated to his nomination and will regain the ability to do so when the Senate completes the confirmation process,” the letter says.  

“This Presidential nomination obviates any concern that the Acting Secretary’s declining to testify at the Worldwide Threats hearing was premature, conjectural or speculative. 

“Second, the right of a President’s nominee to abstain from testifying on matters unrelated to his  or her nomination while such a nomination is pending is an unwritten rule honored by Chairmen from both sides of the aisle for many decades.”

Spivey went on to argue that the agency has cooperated with the panel’s calls to supply information pertaining to the topic of the hearing, questioning why the alternatives offered by DHS to testify are not considered adequate.  

She said other witnesses who are being called before the committee are not at the Cabinet level, arguing Wolf’s presence would be “inappropriate.” She noted that Wolf had previously “volunteered to testify before

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