The Supreme Court sent an important case concerning a transgender student in Virginia back down to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, in part because of the Trump administration’s new position on the issues involved in the case.
In Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., Gavin Grimm sued his school district for the right to use the boys’ bathroom, which corresponds with his gender identity. Under the Obama administration, it looked like Grimm might have a strong chance of success at the country’s highest court, potentially setting a precedent for school districts across the country. Now, that’s looking less likely.
The Trump administration has rolled back Obama’s former policies, meaning that transgender students like Grimm may have to follow policies on bathroom use and other accommodations set by individual school districts.
Grimm’s case has been winding its way through the court system for nearly two years. In the summer of 2015, a federal district court dismissed Grimm’s claims. The judges’ decision turned on their interpretation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in schools that get federal funds. Courts have disagreed about the meaning of sex discrimination: Some have held that it covers gender identity, meaning that it prohibits discrimination against transgender people like Grimm. Others, like the district court in Grimm’s case, have disagreed. The Obama administration supported the inclusive interpretation, instructing schools to accommodate transgender students.