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Supreme Court declines to hear two LGBT rights cases

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Supreme Court building
Supreme Court building
Today, the Supreme Court posted its order list from the May 1 conference. Among the cases the Court declined to review were two related to LGBT rights.

The Justices denied Kosilek v. O’Brien, an important transgender rights case being litigated by Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD). Kosilek is transgender, and prison officials are refusing her needed medical care. She lost in the en banc First Circuit Court of Appeals, so the denial means she won’t be entitled to her health care.

The Court also denied review in King v. Christie, a challenge to New Jersey’s ban on so-called LGBT “conversion therapy” for minors. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ban in that case, so it will remain the law in the state.


  • 1. DrPatrick1  |  May 4, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Kosilek is a very difficult case for me. No one is denying her hormonal therapy (as far as I know). The question is what amounts to cosmetic surgery. Afterall, she does not have any sudden anatomy changes which require emergency care. However, I totally agree that surgery is an important part of routine care for transgendered individuals. I am in favor of having insurance cover this. I don't think I am in favor of requiring jails to provide this level of care. I understand this is difficult, and I'm glad that mine is not the final word on this subject.

    NOW, IF they are trying to deny her medical (medicine) care and/or are not providing for her unique safety concerns in prison, then that is a wholly different matter.

  • 2. DJSNOLA  |  May 5, 2015 at 7:04 am

    Totally agree with you. I feel for her in certain ways but she is in prison. I dont think taxpayers should have to pay for this. Insurance I can understand but we can see a difficult issue here with cosmetic surgery. Glad to see the Supreme Court affirmed the lower court ruling but I also think this may indicate the court isnt ready to declare SO a suspect class. Maybe Im reading too much into this but this would be a great case to do that.

  • 3. DrPatrick1  |  May 5, 2015 at 9:56 am

    GI and SO are not the same, and are only related politically due to society. I don't think this tells us anything about how SCOTUS will rule on marriage.

  • 4. DJSNOLA  |  May 5, 2015 at 10:04 am

    I was really referring to the New Jersey issue not the transgender issue. I was saying if they had taken the New Jersey case they would most certainly have to deal with the status of LGBT community and the type of scrutiny they deserve.

  • 5. A_Jayne  |  May 5, 2015 at 7:46 am

    My concern about this is that she is still housed in a male prison. As best I can discover, the criteria for her to be housed in a female prison is to be post-surgical. Could this all be resolved by documenting her gender status as female due to diagnosis, and house her in a female prison as long as she is on hormone therapy?

  • 6. DrPatrick1  |  May 5, 2015 at 9:55 am

    I think she should be fighting to be housed in the safest environment possible, and not fighting for surgery.

  • 7. A_Jayne  |  May 5, 2015 at 10:10 am

    IANAL, so I don't know, legally, what she should be doing. It could be, with post-SRS being required to "qualify" for a women's facility, that is why her fight took the course it did. Since that has now failed, a different course is obviously necessary.

    Like you, what I am willing to stand behind is resolving her current situation by having her held in the safest environment possible. For her legal team, that could now mean fighting for either a change or an exception to the law.

  • 8. davepCA  |  May 4, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Very glad to hear that the ban on conversion quackery will remain in effect!

  • 9. Christian0811  |  May 4, 2015 at 9:46 am

    In 'Kosilek' is there any chance for en banc review? I think given the the SC denial the Court might be willing to hear the case, at least I've seen a similar affect with en banc reviews (rare as they are) where they want to hear from the SC first.

  • 10. Rick55845  |  May 4, 2015 at 10:10 am

    No, there has already been an en banc review, and she lost. From Scottie's post above:

    "Kosilek is transgender, and prison officials are refusing her needed medical care. She lost in the en banc First Circuit Court of Appeals, so the denial means she won’t be entitled to her health care."

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