by Chris Johnson, Washington Blade
A White House spokesperson Monday called the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to scrap consideration of a case that would have nationwide implications for transgender rights a “routine practice.”
Kelly Love, a White House spokesperson, made the remarks in an email response to a Washington Blade inquiry on whether President Trump supports the Supreme Court’s decision to nix consideration of the case filed by Gavin Grimm, a transgender student seeking to use the boys’ restroom consistent with his gender identity, and remand it to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
“The Supreme Court’s remand today is a routine practice in dealing with cases in which circumstances have changed while a case is pending,” Love said.
Love referred to the remand as a “routine practice” after the Blade expressed dissatisfaction with an earlier response in which she stated the facts of the Supreme Court’s action without characterizing the administration’s view.
“The Supreme Court was due to hear a case this month in which a school district was sued by a transgender student for access to bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding to the student’s gender identity,” Love said. “Now that the Departments of Justice and Education have withdrawn their guidance on that issue, the Supreme Court has sent the case back to the lower court to interpret the law without the overlay of the guidance.”
The Supreme Court initially agreed to hear the case last year, but reversed course Monday and remanded the case as a result of the Trump administration revoking Obama administration guidance assuring transgender students access to the restroom consistent with their gender identity.
That guidance formed the basis of the Fourth Circuit decision in favor of Grimm and one of two questions the Supreme Court agreed to consider after his high school in Gloucester County, Va., petitioned justices to review the ruling.
Joshua Block, who represents Grimm as a senior attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a conference call earlier in the day even though the administration has withdrawn the guidance, the prohibition on sex discrimination in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 still protects transgender students regardless of what the White House says.
“Trump can’t roll back what the statutes say; he can roll back whether or not he’s actually going to be enforcing the way he should be,” Block said, “I think that the previous administration was making sure through guidance and regulations to be enforcing those statutes consistently with how lower courts interpreted them to provide equal education to everyone regardless of sex, including trans students. I think that unfortunately, in this administration, it looks like we’re on our own and we’ll have to be protecting ourselves in court.”