We’ve made a lot of progress these last few years in the area of LGBT civil rights, but every so often we are forced to take a step back, and it’s so frustrating …
In what is hoped to be a temporary order — though one that harms transgender Americans in the meantime — the Supreme Court voted 5–3 last week to stay an appeals court decision siding with a trans student who challenged his school district bathroom policy.
In June, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ordered a Virginia school district to stop excluding the trans student from using the bathroom that aligned with his gender identity, but SCOTUS stayed that decision, thus continuing the anti-trans discrimination.
The Court’s order is brief — barely a paragraph — and was issued over the dissents of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan; Justice Stephen Breyer — a Clinton appointee — issued the ruling:
“In light of the facts that four Justices have voted to grant the application referred to the Court by THE CHIEF JUSTICE, that we are currently in recess, and that granting a stay will preserve the status quo (as of the time the Court of Appeals made its decision) until the Court considers the forthcoming petition for certiorari, I vote to grant the application as a courtesy.”
It appears that Justice Breyer believed that this stay should be denied, but voted to allow it as a “courtesy” to his conservative colleagues.
Courtesy? Let the boy pee for crying out loud!
And these so-called “courtesy” votes, while an ordinary practice in death penalty cases, when four justices wish to hear a case but a fifth vote is necessary to stay the execution and keep the inmate from being executed before their case receives full review, Justice Breyer’s “courtesy” seems a bit odd.
Again … the boy just wants to pee. No one’s gonna be executed.
But, with Breyer’s decision to grant the stay, the school district can continue its policy until the Supreme Court reconvenes at the end of September. The good news is that it seems fairly certain Breyer will then join RBG, Sotomayor, and Kagan to affirm the Fourth Circuit’s decision.
But still … the boy wants to pee.
One more thing … we cannot not ignore the fact that Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative who typically favors LGBT rights, aligned his fellow conservatives in voting against this trans student, suggesting that Kennedy’s stance against anti-gay discrimination does not extend to anti-trans discrimination.
And all of this I say because it’s just another reason to Vote Blue in November, and have a Democratic president appoint a new justice who will stand up for all Americans, even the transgender Americans.
The march goes on …