SCOTUS Hits Brakes On Ruling Giving Virginia Transgender Teen Bathroom Access At School

Posted: Aug 03, 2016 5:45 PM

In June, NBC News’ Pete Williams reported that a federal judge ordered a Virginia school board to allow a transgender teen, Gavin Grimm, to use the men’s bathroom. Grimm was born female. It became part of the multi-front transgender bathroom culture war, and the Grimm case was cited in the Obama administration’s lawsuit against North Carolina’s bathroom bill:

In April, the appeals court declined to revisit its ruling. The school board has vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court.

But while the case is on appeal, Judge Robert Doumar ordered the school to let the student, referred to in court documents as G.G., use the boys' bathroom.

"This case is only about G.G's access to the boys' restrooms; G.G. has not requested access to the boys' locker rooms," the judge said.

"I am elated to hear that I'll be able to attend my senior year of high school with my full rights restored," Grimm said.

Well, the Supreme Court decided to hit the brakes on that front. In a 5-3 decision, the Court blocked the lower court’s ruling, with liberal Justice Stephen Breyer joining the conservative wing of the court in this decision (via Politico):

The justices split, 5-3, on the issue, with Democratic-appointed Justice Stephen Breyer joining with the court’s four GOP appointees to lift—for now—the obligation of the Gloucester County school system to allow student Gavin Grimm to use the bathroom of his choice in accordance with Obama Administration guidance.

Breyer is quoted in Politico saying that he agreed to the stay as a “courtesy,” as the Court is still in recess. For now, he wanted to preserve the status quo.