The U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday intervened for the first time in the controversy over transgender rights and granted a stay sought by a Virginia school district to prohibit a transgender boy from using the high school restroom that fits his “gender identity” when the school re-opens in September.
The court voted 5-3 to grant the stay sought by the Gloucester County school district after Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. referred the stay application he received last month to the full court.
Roberts was joined by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Stephen G. Breyer, and Samuel A. Alito Jr. in granting the stay. Breyer said in a short statement he was voting for the stay “as a courtesy.” Without Breyer’s vote, a 4-4 split on the question would have meant no stay. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan said they would deny the stay.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange welcomed the high court’s decision.
“This is a positive development and an indication that the U.S. Supreme Court could eventually overturn the Obama administration’s order mandating that America’s public schools allow students access to restrooms and locker rooms of their gender identity rather than sex,” said AG Strange. “The Supreme Court’s five-to-three decision in the case of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. certainly raises the possibility that the high court will also rule in support of a separate legal challenge against the Obama administration filed by Alabama and 10 other states in May.
“As I stated in my letter to the Alabama State Board of Education in May, the recent federal transgender restroom directive to America’s public schools is based on a legally erroneous interpretation of federal law and will not stand up to legal scrutiny,” Strange added.