“Bathroom” Controversy Heads to Supreme Court

200352787-001In yet another reason why the faithful must be extremely careful when casting their vote for president next week, an evenly divided Supreme Court is set to make another major ruling next June in a case involving the right of transgendered students to use school bathrooms that correspond to their perceived gender.

Fox News is reporting on the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. which involves a female student named Gavin Grimm who identifies as a male.

Grimm, a 17 year-old senior, was permitted to use the boys’ restroom for a few weeks in 2014 until parents complained. The local school board decided to adopt a policy requiring students to use the restroom that corresponds to their biological gender or to use a private, single-stall restroom.

Grimm decided to sue, and is now backed by the Obama administration which issued a “Dear Colleague” letter this summer instructing schools to allow students to use the restroom that corresponds to their “gender identity” rather than to their biological gender. The administration claims that refusal to comply violates Title IX, a federal law that bars sex discrimination in schools.

The high court granted certiorari [an agreement to revisit the ruling of a lower court] in the case, but is limiting the ruling to deciding if the “Dear Colleague” letter carries the force of law and whether or not the administration’s Title IX argument is valid.

Although a 3-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Grimm, the Supreme Court voted 5-3 to grant an emergency appeal from the school board to put the issue on hold until the high court can decide on whether or not to hear the case. In that ruling, Justice Stephen Breyer, who usually rules with the liberal wing of the Court, sided instead with the four conservative justices to “preserve the status quo” and leave current school bathroom policy in effect until the Court decided whether or not to take on the issue. However, he clearly stated that he did so only out of courtesy and not because he agreed with the school board’s position in the case.

The Court’s decision to take up the case pleased Gloucester County school board chairman Troy Andersen who praised the court for agreeing to hear such a difficult case. “The board looks forward to explaining to the Court that its restroom and locker room policy carefully balances the interests of all students and parents in the Gloucester County school system,” Andersen told Fox.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a non-profit litigation organization, filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of 8,914 concerned parents, students, grandparents, and community members, as well as more than 40 state family policy councils, all of whom support the school district’s policy that protects the privacy and dignity of every student on campus.

“Schools have a duty to protect the privacy and safety of all students,” said ADF Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb. “That’s a compelling reason for the Supreme Court to review the 4th Circuit’s decision in this case, especially when other courts—including the 4th Circuit itself previously—have upheld that principle. In light of the right to bodily privacy, federal law should not be twisted to require that a male be given access to the girls’ facilities, or a female to the boys’ facilities. The Supreme Court should reverse the 4th Circuit’s ruling, which is out of step with the law and previous federal court precedent.”

As for Grimm, he did not want the case to go to the Supreme Court.

“I never thought that my restroom use would ever turn into any kind of national debate,” Grimm said after the court announced it will hear his case. “The only thing I ever asked for was the right to be treated like everyone else. While I’m disappointed that I will have to spend my final school year being singled out and treated differently from every other guy, I will do everything I can to make sure that other transgender students don’t have to go through the same experience.”

The Supreme Court has heard several critical cases in recent years that have severely affected the moral fabric of the nation. Most notably is the case which led to the legalization of same-sex marriage, as well as this summer’s ruling which struck down a Texas abortion clinic law and which will now allow the abortion industry to overturn common sense safety laws in dozens of states where clinics had been forced to closed.

The ruling in the Grimm case will be equally momentous and could permanently change our way of life and put our privacy rights at risk in schools and public places.

This is all the more reason why we must look beyond personalities in this year’s election and focus on party platform in order to elect a president who will nominate non-ideological justices who will enforce the Constitution as our Founders intended.

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