‘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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Supreme Court pass on transgender bathroom case frustrates conservatives

The Supreme Court took a pass Monday on a legal challenge over shared restrooms for transgender students at a Virginia high school, fueling frustration among right-tilting court-watchers eager for the conservative majority to resolve the intensifying legal clash over gender identity.

The court’s denial of certiorari allowed the lower court ruling to stand in favor of Gavin Grimm, a transgender male — a biological female identifying as a male — who sued the Gloucester County School Board for barring him from using the boys’ restroom, marking the third time the high court has refused to take up transgender access to public school facilities.

Josh Block, a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union LGBTQ & HIV Project, said that in each of the cases, the appeals courts ruled in favor of transgender students seeking to use restrooms and other facilities based on their gender identity as opposed to their sex at birth.

“This an incredible victory for Gavin and for transgender students around the country,” Mr. Block said in a statement. “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.”

Indeed, the court’s silence on gender identity discrimination since its 2020 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia — which centered on employment — has created a legal void quickly being filled by conflicting rules from the Biden administration and red-state legislatures on transgender athletes and access to gender transition procedures and public facilities.

“Clearly, there’s a huge split in the country,” said Emilie Kao, director of The Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion & Civil Society. “There have been over 100 bills brought in the state legislatures to protect privacy, safety and fairness by using biological sex as the basis for policies in schools.”

Litigation has inevitably followed, leading legal analysts to agree that it’s not a matter of if the court will revisit the gender identity issue, but when.

“I’m somewhat optimistic that the court will take a case that raises the issue in the next year or so,” said Gail Heriot, a professor at the University of San Diego School of Law.

Mr. Grimm sued in June 2015 after the school board refused to let him use the boys’ facilities, instead offering him a private restroom, which he said was stigmatizing. 

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Mr. Grimm, now 22, reasoning that the Supreme Court’s 2020 decision in Bostock justified striking down the Gloucester County school system’s policy. 

Critics countered that Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who wrote the majority opinion in Bostock, specifically said the decision applied only to Title VII, not to “sex-segregated bathrooms, locker rooms, and dress codes.” He said the justices “do not prejudge any such question today.”

“[Gorsuch] said this only applies to Title VII on employment; this doesn’t apply to Title IX on bathrooms and sports, but obviously courts are applying it that way, the Biden administration is applying

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Supreme Court refuses to hear transgender bathroom case, a win for student Gavin Grimm

The Supreme Court on Monday handed the LGBT rights movement another victory, declining to hear an appeal that challenged the rights of transgender students to use the bathroom of their choosing.

The high court said it would not take a case involving Gavin Grimm and the school board of Gloucester County, Virginia. That board had refused Grimm the choice to use a boys bathroom in his school in a policy that also applied to other transgender students.

Grimm was born female but began identifying as male after his high school freshman year.

Activist Gavin Grimm arrives for the Time 100 Gala in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, U.S. April 25, 2017.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

Grimm’s right to use a boys bathroom was upheld in rulings by lower federal courts, which had ruled that he was protected by a federal law that bars school programs from discriminating against students on the basis of their sex.

Two of the Supreme Court’s more conservative justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, said they would have heard the case, according to the order released Monday.

The use of bathrooms by transgender students and the acceptance of such students on school athletic teams has become a flashpoint for conservatives in recent years.

“This is a victory for transgender students, who simply want to be themselves without worrying about being rejected or refused access to basic dignities,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, the CEO GLADD, a leading lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer advocacy group.

Medical and educational authorities all agree that transgender young people must be allowed to belong, learn, grow, and succeed as their authentic selves, just like any other child,” Ellis said. “Our schools and our society are safer and offer more opportunity for all when all are welcome. Our country and community are stronger thanks to Gavin Grimm’s courage and his fight for all kids to be included, valued and protected.” 

The ruling in Grimm’s favor comes a year after the Supreme Court ruled that federal civil rights law bars employers from discriminating against people because of how they identify their gender.

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The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Grimm, said Monday’s ruling “is the third time in recent years that SCOTUS [the Supreme Court of the United States] has allowed appeals court decisions in support of trans students to remain.”

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Supreme Court gives victory to transgender student who sued to use bathroom that corresponded to his gender identity

The case concerns the scope of Title IX that prohibits schools from discriminating “on the basis of sex.” It began when Gavin Grimm, a transgender male who was then a high-school student, challenged the local school board’s decision to require him to use either a unisex restroom or a restroom that corresponds to the sex, female, he was assigned at birth.

Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito said they would have taken up the case for next term.

“I am glad that my years-long fight to have my school see me for who I am is over. 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,” Grimm — who has since graduated — said in a statement Monday.

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

The court’s decision not to review an opinion by the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals means that public school students in the mid-Atlantic states covered by the 4th Circuit, as well as states governed by the 7th Circuit and the 11th Circuit, can use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. The issue is unsettled in other states and another appeal could conceivably make its way back to the Supreme Court, although Grimm’s legal fight is over.

Grimm filed suit against the board in 2015, arguing that the school’s policy violated Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause. The Obama Justice Department filed a “statement of interest” accusing the board of violating Title IX. A federal appeals court deferred to the interpretation ruling in Grimm’s favor. The school board appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which agreed to take up the case.

Before the high court could rule, however, the Trump administration withdrew the Obama-era guidance, and the Supreme Court wiped away the decision by the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals and sent the case back down for further proceedings. The case began again at the district court and ultimately the 4th Circuit again ruled in favor of Grimm, this time citing the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in 2020 that held that federal employment law protects LGBTQ workers.
John Roberts is all business in his conservatism

Grimm began fighting the Gloucester County School Board’s policies when he was a sophomore at a Virginia high school in 2015. As part of Grimm’s medical treatment for severe gender dysphoria, Grimm and his mother notified school administrators of his male gender identity and received permission for Grimm to use the boys’ restroom for almost two months. But once the school board began receiving complaints, it adopted a new policy denying him access to the boys’ bathrooms.

In 2019, a federal judge in Virginia also ruled in favor of Grimm, telling the school board it must recognize him as male and saying the board had violated his constitutional rights. The judge awarded him one
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Supreme Court refuses appeal for Virginia school board’s transgender bathroom ban

Members of the U.S. Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the court in Washington, D.C., on Friday. Seated, from left to right, are Associate Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Standing, from left to right, are Associate Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett. Pool Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI | License Photo

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Supreme Court declines to hear bathroom case in victory for transgender student

Supreme Court

Supreme Court Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Supreme Court is passing on a key case involving a transgender student, and the ACLU is celebrating the news as an “incredible victory.”

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the case of Gavin Grimm, the transgender student who challenged a Virginia school board’s policy that restrooms are “limited to the corresponding biological genders,” NBC News reports. Lower courts sided with Grimm that this violated Title IX, the civil rights law against sex discrimination, and since the Supreme Court isn’t taking up the case, Grimm’s win stays in place.

Josh Block, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, told NBC that this was “an incredible victory for Gavin and for transgender students around the country,” while Grimm said, “I am glad that my years-long fight to have my school see me for who I am is over. 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.”

According to CNN, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito both said they would have taken up the case.

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Supreme Court declines challenge to Virginia transgender bathroom decision

The Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge on Monday to a Virginia appeals court decision allowing students to use school bathrooms according to their gender identity rather than biological sex.

The challenge was a response to a case originally brought forward by Gavin Grimm, a Virginia teenager born a female but identifying as a male who said that the Gloucester County, Virginia, school system was discriminatory in its bathroom policies. Grimm won that case last year. The Supreme Court shut down the challenge in an unsigned order, but Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas added that they would have heard it.

TENNESSEE GOVERNOR SIGNS BATHROOM BILL INTO LAW

The court’s decision means that Grimm’s victory will remain intact.

Grimm’s case was one of several legal battles involving transgender bathroom use that played out at about the same time that the Supreme Court was weighing whether or not to legalize gay marriage. In this one, the school was initially lenient but soon changed its policy, claiming that bathroom use was “limited to the corresponding biological genders.”

When lawyers for the school appealed to the Supreme Court last year, Grimm’s attorneys at the American Civil Liberties Union responded by urging the court not to take the case, arguing that it was a Title IX violation to deny any student the bathroom use of his or her choice.

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The appeals court decision favoring Grimm came down shortly after the Supreme Court decided another case involving gay and transgender discrimination, Bostock v. Clayton County. In that case, the court found that discriminating against gay and transgender employees is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Judge Henry Floyd, who wrote the majority opinion in Grimm’s case, said that the logic of Bostock could easily be applied to bathroom disputes. Although Bostock “expressly” excluded a discussion of how bathroom cases should be decided, the landmark Supreme Court case, Floyd said, could easily be used to interpret Title IX, which prevents sexual discrimination in schools.

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Transgender student wins as Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a major transgender rights case, leaving in place a lower court’s ruling that a Virginia public school board acted unlawfully in preventing a transgender student from using a bathroom at his high school that corresponded with his gender identity.

The justices opted not to hear the Gloucester County School Board’s appeal of a 2020 ruling by the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that transgender student Gavin Grimm is protected under the federal law that bars sex discrimination in education, known as Title IX, and the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that people be treated equally under the law. The 4th Circuit ruling does not set a national legal precedent.

The Supreme Court’s decision to reject the appeal represents a victory for Grimm, who sued the school board in 2015 after officials at a local public high school refused to allow him to use the boys’ restrooms. The Supreme Court previously took up the case in 2016 but did not issue a ruling and sent it back to lower courts.

“We won,” Grimm wrote on Twitter. “I have nothing more to say but thank you, thank you, thank you. Honored to have been part of this victory.”

The brief court order noted that conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito would have taken up the case.

FILE - In this April 23, 2021, file photo members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington. Seated from left are Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Standing from left are Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch and Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Before the Supreme Court this is week is an argument over whether public schools can discipline students over something they say off-campus. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool, File)

FILE – In this April 23, 2021, file photo members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington. Seated from left are Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Standing from left are Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch and Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Before the Supreme Court this is week is an argument over whether public schools can discipline students over something they say off-campus. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool, File)

President Joe Biden’s administration, reversing the position taken by the government under his predecessor Donald Trump, said on June 16 that Title IX protects both gender identity and sexual orientation. The administration has not said specifically how that applies to school bathroom access.

Grimm, assigned female gender at birth, identifies as male. Grimm, now 22, graduated from the school in 2017.

Grimm began attending Gloucester High School in September 2014. With the school’s permission, Grimm used the boys’ bathroom for about seven weeks without incident.

But after complaints from parents, the county school board adopted a new policy in December 2014 that required students to use the bathroom that corresponded with their gender at birth. Grimm was given the option of using a separate gender-neutral bathroom, but refused to do so, feeling stigmatized.

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Judge Henry Floyd, writing for the 4th Circuit, said the school board’s actions constituted “a special kind of discrimination against a child that he will no

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Supreme Court won’t take up case challenging school’s policy allowing a transgender student to use bathroom corresponding with their identity

The petition was considered a long shot because of several complicated threshold issues, including the fact that the policy had been put in place five years ago for one student — referred to as “student A” — who has since graduated from the high school located in Dallas, Oregon. At issue was an individualized plan drawn up specifically for “student A.”

In declining to take up the petition, the justices left in place an appeals court decision earlier this year that held that the school’s policy intended to “avoid discrimination and ensure the safety and well-being of transgender students.”

“A policy that allows transgender students to use school bathroom and locker facilities that match their self-identified gender in the same manner that cisgender students utilize those facilities does not infringe Fourteenth Amendment privacy or parental rights or First Amendment free exercise rights, nor does it create actionable sex harassment under Title IX,” Judge Atsushi Wallace Tashima wrote for the appeals court.

The Supreme Court’s action Monday was taken without comment or noted dissent.

The American Civil Liberties Union cheered the court’s move on Monday, saying the justices’ message was that “transgender youth are not a threat to other students.”

“The decision not to take this case is an important and powerful message to trans and non-binary youth that they deserve to share space with and enjoy the benefits of school alongside their non-transgender peers,” Chase Strangio, the deputy director for trans justice with the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project, said in a statement.
Federal appeals court sides with student in Virginia transgender bathroom case

Despite Monday’s order, the issue isn’t likely to go away soon. Other lower courts have addressed a related question brought by lawyers for transgender students concerning whether Title IX or the Constitution requires schools to allow transgender students to have equal access to bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. A case on that issue is expected to reach the court early next year.

The transgender bathroom debate has long been a flashpoint for the court. Supporters of LGBTQ rights fear that the Supreme Court’s newly solidified 6-3 conservative majority could prove to be hostile toward policies in favor of transgender students.

In late August, a federal appeals court handed a win to a transgender former student in a years-long fight over restroom policies, ruling that policies segregating transgender students from their peers are unconstitutional and violate federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in education. That decision relied in part on the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year in favor of LGBT workers.

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Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett strives to show independence from White House, Republicans

WASHINGTON – Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett fought back Tuesday against caricatures that she is a committed advocate for conservative causes chosen by President Donald Trump to do his bidding on issues ranging from abortion to the Affordable Care Act.

Barrett: Noboday wants ‘Law of Amy’

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In a marathon session before the Senate Judiciary Committee just three weeks from Election Day, Barrett was put on the defensive by Democrats charging that she was picked because of her views on abortion, gun rights, same-sex marriage and particularly the health care law headed to the high court for the third time next month.

“That is their stated objective and plan. Why not take them at their word?” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said in reference to Republicans and special-interest groups backing Barrett’s nomination.

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Barrett strived to show her independence from the president and conservative forces that have joined together in hopes of a speedy confirmation, wedged tightly between Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and an election that Trump has made clear could be challenged in court.

“I certainly hope that all members of the committee have more confidence in my integrity than to think that I would allow myself to be used as a pawn to decide the election for the American people,” Barrett said.

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But several Democrats implied just that. They urged Barrett to pledge that if confirmed, she would recuse herself both from cases involving the election and from the challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

“Republicans are scrambling to confirm this nominee as fast as possible because they need one more Trump judge on the bench before Nov. 10 to win and strike down the Affordable Care Act,” Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, a committee member, said as the hearing stretched past dinner time. “This is happening.”

Time and again in response, Barrett indicated that she came to the hearing with an agenda: to assure senators she has no agenda.

“Judges cannot just wake up one day and say: ‘I have an agenda. I like guns. I hate abortion,’ and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world,” she said.

Despite efforts by Democrats to paint her as a hard-right conservative, Barrett refused to be pinned down on such hot-button issues as race and LGBTQ rights. When the subject of racial justice came up, she recounted how she wept with one of her daughters, who is Black and adopted from Haiti, over the death of George Floyd while being pinned down by police in Minneapolis.



a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett listens during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.


© Bonnie Cash, AP
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett listens during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

“Racism persists in our country,” she said, later condemning white supremacy and acknowledging that there is

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