SCOTUS Asked to Halt Transgender Bathroom Ruling

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By Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson

July 13 — A Virginia school board has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt lower court rulings allowing a transgender high schooler to use the bathroom corresponding to his gender identity ( Gloucester Cty. Sch. Bd. v. G.G., U.S., No. 16A52, stay application filed 7/13/16 ).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit April 19 reinstated the boy's suit (84 U.S.L.W. 1539, 4/21/16), which claimed the school violated Title IX when it required students to use bathrooms corresponding to their biological sex, rather than gender identity.

A federal district court later temporarily prohibited the school from enforcing its policy.

The school board asked the Supreme Court to halt both rulings while the case plays out in federal court.

Absent Supreme Court intervention, “the School Board—including parents and children in the Gloucester County school district—will suffer irreparable harm,” the board said in its Supreme Court stay request.

Compliance with the lower court's order “will likely cause severe disruption to the school as the upcoming school year approaches in September,” it said.

“When the school previously attempted to allow [the student] to use the boys’ restroom, outcry from parents and students was immediate and forceful,” the board said. “There is every reason to expect the same reaction if the School Board is” required to again allow the student to use the boys' restroom, it said.

Both the district court and the Fourth Circuit refused to stay their rulings.

Several suits are currently pending over transgender students' use of school bathrooms (84 U.S.L.W. 1654, 5/12/16), but this is the first time the Supreme Court has been asked to weigh in.

Although the Supreme Court isn't currently in session, the justices can, and do, act on such emergency applications as they arise.

The school board said it will later ask the high court to review the merits of the Fourth Circuit's decision reinstating the boy's claims. That petition is due in late August.

CORRECTED: The original version of this story inaccurately identified the state in which the school board is located as North Carolina.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at

For More Information

Full text of the stay request at

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