Wisconsin School District Requests Supreme Court Review of Anti-Transgender Restroom Restrictions

By Adam Polaski • August 26, 2017 • 10:07 am

On Friday, August 25, the Kenosha Unified School District officially filed a writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court in Kenosha Unified School District v. Whitaker, the case in which the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found this spring that Title IX prohibits discrimination against students based on gender identity or expression. The petition asks the nation’s highest court to review the case and overturn the significant victory for transgender equality and justice.

The school district is seeking review of a May 30, 2017 ruling from a 3-judge panel of the 7th Circuit, which affirmed that the school district must allow Ashton Whitaker, a transgender boy in Wisconsin, to use the boys’ restroom. The decision in this case, filed by the Transgender Law Center, had jurisdiction over Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois.

The court’s opinion made the 7th Circuit the highest court ever to decisively find that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, extends to transgender students. The court wrote: “By definition, a transgender individual does not conform to the sex‐based stereotypes of the sex that he or she was assigned at birth. …  A policy that requires an individual to use a bathroom that does not conform with his or her gender identity punishes that individual for his or her gender non‐conformance, which in turn violates Title IX.” The panel also found that the school district’s treatment of Ash violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.

Now the U.S. Supreme Court will be asked again to review whether school districts may prohibit transgender students from using the restroom that aligns with their gender identity.

Last year the Supreme Court granted review of Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board and fully briefed the case, including “friend-of-the-court” briefs from thousands of voices in support of full transgender dignity. But after President Trump rescinded guidance on how public schools should treat transgender students, a strong basis for the lower court ruling in favor of Gavin Grimm, arguments in the case were canceled and the case was remanded back to the district court.

Read the petition, courtesy of Equality Case Files

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