Supreme Court Turns Away Case on Transgender Student Bathroom Use

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The U.S. Supreme Court refused to question school district policies that let transgender students use bathrooms aligned with their gender identity, rejecting an appeal from parents who said the privacy rights of other students are being violated.

The justices, without comment, left intact a federal appeals court decision that threw out a lawsuit against Dallas School District No. 2 in western Oregon. The case centered on a transgender student who was allowed to use the boys’ bathrooms and locker room at Dallas High School until he graduated in 2018.

In their appeal, three parents and two parent organizations said the school district’s policy violated the Constitution and a federal statute that guards against discrimination in education. The school district told the justices the case had become moot.

Restroom use by transgender people has been a lurking issue at the Supreme Court. In 2016 the court agreed to hear an appeal from a Virginia school board that sought to bar a high school student from using the boys’ bathrooms. The justices dropped that case after President Donald Trump took office and his Education Department revoked an Obama administration interpretation of federal law as protecting the bathroom rights of transgender students.

When the court this year said a federal job-discrimination law protects LGBTQ workers, dissenting Justice Samuel Alito said the ruling opened the door to claims by transgender people over bathrooms. The majority opinion, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, said the court wasn’t addressing bathrooms or locker rooms.

The Oregon case is Parents for Privacy v. Barr, 20-62.

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