A federal appeals court admonished a district judge, sending the case back to the judge, setting a crucial legal precedent for future transgender civil rights cases.
The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of 16-year-old Glouster VA trans student Gavin Grimm. Although it’s not an outright win it’s better as it sets the standard for evaluating the merit of this and future transgender discrimination lawsuits.
Grimm filed a lawsuit with the ACLU of VA suing the School district after they required him to use the girls bathroom, or a single occupancy restroom after using the boys room for an extended time.
The 4th District Appeals Court jurisdiction includes North Carolina where Governor McCoroy in his official capacity publicly asked that District court in support the school’s discriminatory policy.
Amici Supporting Appellant (the school district) included a long list of Governors and groups heavily invested in Trans Crow laws; STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA; PAUL R. LEPAGE, In his official capacity as Governor State of Maine; STATE OF ARIZONA; THE FAMILY FOUNDATION OF VIRGINIA; STATE OF MISSISSIPPI; STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA; EAGLE FORUM EDUCATION AND LEGAL DEFENSE FUND (founded by Phyllis Schlafly.)
Buzz Feed reports that The decision is a big victory for the Obama administration, which weighed in at the appeals court to support Grimm’s challenge, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which has been making the case for protecting LGBT people under existing civil rights laws since 2012. The Education Department, for its part, has been pressing the Title IX interpretation with school districts since 2013.
The Appeals court ruled that Office of Civil Rights(OCR) and the Department of Education interpretation of Title IX is valid and accordingly the district court errored by not giving those interpretations full weight in its ruling.
The Appeals Court sent the case back to the same District court so it can offer a final ruling. The ACLU had tried unsuccessfully to change the district court where the case was to be heard due to what most see as biased, presumptive and ignorant comments made by the judge.
In a statement, Grimm said he felt “relieved and vindicated” by the court’s ruling.
“Today’s decision gives me hope that my fight will help other kids avoid discriminatory treatment at school,” Grimm said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, which brought the case to court on behalf of Grimm in 2015, says this is the first time a federal court has affirmed that Title IX protects transgender students.
— mark binker (@binker) April 19, 2016