Supreme Court to hear arguments on March 28
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments March 28 in the lawsuit brought by a transgender Gloucester High School student against the Gloucester School Board over bathroom access, according to the court’s argument calendar.
GHS student Gavin Grimm, who was born female but identifies as a male, sued the board after it adopted a policy that limits restroom and locker room access to biological gender, while providing alternatives for transgender students.
The board adopted the policy in December 2014 and soon thereafter three unisex bathrooms were added at GHS. Grimm, represented by the ACLU, filed a federal lawsuit in June 2015 claiming the policy was discriminatory under Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Grimm also sought a preliminary injunction that would put the policy on hold until the case was decided.
A federal district court found the policy did not violate Title IX but that finding was overturned by a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals panel. The injunction request was initially denied but later granted by the district court.
The school board unsuccessfully sought an en banc hearing by the full Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. After that denial, the board asked the Supreme Court to grant a stay of the injunction order until it could seek a writ of certiorari.
The stay was granted last July and in August the board asked the Supreme Court to review the finding by the Fourth Circuit Appeals panel. The Supreme Court agreed last fall to hear arguments in the case.
“These sorts of discriminatory policies stigmatize and isolate transgender students like Gavin just because of who they are,” said Josh Block, staff attorney at the ACLU’s LGBT project, after the Supreme Court decision to hear the case.
“We look forward to presenting Gavin’s case to the Supreme Court as the next step in the fight to ensure fairness and equality for trans people across the country,” Block said.
The school board also issued a release after the decision: “We are grateful that the Supreme Court has granted the school board’s petition in this difficult case.
“The board looks forward to explaining to the court that its restroom and locker room policy carefully balances the interests of all students and parents in the Gloucester County school system.”