Supreme Court grants emergency order to block transgender male student in Virginia from using boys’ restroom
The Supreme Court intervened for the first time Wednesday in the controversy over transgender rights and blocked a lower court ruling that would have allowed a transgender boy to use the high school restroom that fits his “gender identity.”
In an unusual 5-3 order, the justices granted an emergency appeal from a Virginia school board, which said it is fighting to “protect the basic expectations of bodily privacy of Gloucester County students.”
The school board was seeking to be exempted from the Obama administration’s position that schools nationwide are required to allow transgender students to use the bathroom they prefer.
Justice Stephen G. Breyer signaled he did not support the school board’s emergency appeal, but said he joined the court’s four conservatives as a “courtesy” to put the issue on hold until the justices can review the matter when they return in the fall.
“In light of the facts that four justices have voted to grant the application referred to the court by the chief justice, that we are currently on recess and that granting the stay will preserve the status quo,” he wrote, “I vote to grant the application as a courtesy.”
The issue began last year when a U.S. Department of Education lawyer advised school districts nationwide that a federal anti-discrimination law known as Title IX, which forbids sex discrimination in education, also protects the rights of transgender students to use restrooms and changing facilities that are “consistent with their gender identity.”