In light of the change in circumstances, the Supreme Court chose to return the case to the lower appeals court to reassess its decision.
[UPDATED 11 a.m. ] The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday returned the major case on transgender rights in schools to a lower court for fresh consideration of the Trump administration's withdrawal of Obama-era guidance that federal anti-discrimination law protected gender identity.
The Obama administration previous year stated that public schools should allow transgender students access to single-sex facilities - like locker rooms and restrooms - of their current gender identity.
The original case was brought against the Gloucester County school board by Gavin Grimm, a public-school student and transgender boy who wants to be permitted to use the boys' restroom at school. The case in question, which the court originally agreed to hear back in October, concerns Gloucester High School student Gavin Grimm and whether or not he should be allowed to use gender appropriate restrooms (Grimm was born female) on state property.
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Both Gavin's lawyer and the school board urged the Supreme Court to go ahead and decide the case, though the board suggested postponing arguments until the new administration had a chance to weigh in. "It's about us existing in public space", she said. He would, ironically, be allowed to use the men's restroom in North Carolina under HB2. He asserts he should be able to use the bathroom of his gender identity under Title IX, which is a national law that protects students against sexual discrimination.
Transgender rights advocates remain hopeful that conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court's regular swing vote who ruled in favor of gay marriage in 2015, will side with the court's liberals on upholding transgender rights.
The law involved in the case is Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which applies to federally funded schools. At issue is the interpretation of Title IX, on which the appeals court did not rule.
In Grimm's case, the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will now take a second shot. The decision cited a document issued by the Trump administration reversing a transgender guidance issued under President Barack Obama's administration. "We're disappointed SCOTUS isn't hearing Gavin's case this term, but support for Gavin shows rights of trans people can't be ignored", tweeted the ACLU, which filed a lawsuit against the Gloucester County school board on Grimm's behalf.