Case of Transgender Teen Returns to U.S. District Court in Richmond

Mar 6, 2017

The case of a transgender teen from Virginia is headed back to the U.S. District Court in Richmond after the Supreme Court refused to hear it.  Sandy Hausman reports on why the high court took that action and how the lower court may rule.

Gavin Grimm’s high school  in Gloucester won’t let him use the boys’ restroom, because he was born a girl.  Federal law prohibits discrimination based on sex, and many courts have ruled that applies to transgender people like Grimm. The U.S. District Court of Appeals had deferred to federal guidance from the Obama administration, which said kids should use whatever bathroom fits their sense of self, but at the ACLU of Virginia Director Claire Gastenaga says the Trump administration withdrew that guidance.

“The new administration seems to think that civil rights should not be uniform across the country and that they could somehow vary from school division to school division.”

Credit NPR

Gloucester had appealed to the Supreme Court, which decided not to hear the case but – instead -- sent it back to Richmond where Gastenaga thinks Grimm will prevail.

“The reality is that when the federal government changes its mind and doesn’t show a clear, consistent pattern of interpretation, that  the courts then say we’re free to ignore the federal government, and I’m hoping that’s what they’ll do in this case certainly.”

There’s no word on when the Federal Court of Appeals will reconsider the case.