Gavin Grimm is a transgender teenager who wants so badly to be able to use the boys’ restroom at his school, he was willing to go all the way to the Supreme Court to accomplish his goal. Unfortunately for him, The Supreme Court doesn’t want to hear his case.
Monday, the Court announced that it would not be hearing the case and that it was being passed back down to the lower courts. Other than the one-sentence order to return the case to a lower court, the Court didn’t comment on its decision, leaving room to speculate about their reasoning, especially in light of President Trump’s efforts to roll back protections established during the previous administration.
What this means is that a lower court in Virginia will now be responsible for deciding whether or not title IX can be applied to transgender students. The Obama administration cited title XI as their reasoning when enacting an executive order which allowed transgender students to use their bathroom of choice, but some think that is a very liberal interpretation of what the law actually says. Title IX prohibits discrimination “on the basis of sex”, language that the Obama Administration maintained was vague enough to be applied not just to assigned sex, but also gender identity. The case against the Gloucester County School Board, brought on Grimm’s behalf by the ACLU, is an attempt to establish the validity of the previous administration’s interpretation of the law.
Gavin Grimm will probably graduate from high school long before the legal wrangling over where he can go to the bathroom ends, but for many people, transgender bathroom use remains a hot button issue, heightening anticipation of the case’s eventual outcome. Either way, the Supreme Court has definitively removed itself from the fight, which could be a signal that they don’t consider transgender bathroom use an issue on par with other civil rights cases that they have been willing to take on.