March 6, 2017reports:
The Trump administration has successfully delayed the Supreme Court considering a question of transgender equality.
Monday morning, the Supreme Court issued an order to vacate and remand the lower court’s opinion in the case of Gavin Grimm, the transgender student in Virginia fighting to use the bathroom at his high school. Because this means the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will have to reconsider Grimm’s case, this almost certainly guarantees that the question will not be settled until after Grimm graduates. It also means it might not be settled by Grimm’s case at all.
The case was set to be heard on March 28, but the Trump administration withdrew the guidance document relied on by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. This wouldn’t have affected the underlying merits except for the technicality that the other merits issues aside from deference to the guidance document were left unaddressed by the lower court.
The new order gives the lower courts a new chance to decide the case on other grounds.
Unfortunately, this likely means the issue of anti-transgender discrimination under federal law won’t be decided by the Supreme Court until at the earliest 2018. Gavin Grimm’s case could reach the Court again – he’s graduating this year, but his lawyers have argued that he would continue to have standing in the case due to the fact that he could go to school alumni events – or the Court could take up one of the many other cases working their way through the courts.
Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings