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Supreme Court Delays Transgender Ruling, Leaving Students in Limbo

The Supreme Court delayed a ruling on an anti-discrimination law that allows transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. The delay in the ruling leaves students in legal limbo.

The Court canceled the planned arguments in the bathroom access lawsuit filed by a transgender high school student in Virginia, Reuters reports. The move leaves the unresolved issue of whether transgender students are protected by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bars gender discrimination in schools.

Transgender bathroom access has been a topic of hot debate at the state and federal level. North Carolina was the first state to enact a law that requires people to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate. A dozen other states are considering similar laws.

Last month, the Trump Administration rescinded guidance from President Barack Obama’s administration that called on schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity.

ACLU lawyer Joshua Block, who represents the Virginia student Gavin Grimm, said the justices’ action was “justice delayed not justice denied.”

Meanwhile, the issue of whether transgender students are protected under Title IX will be decided in the lower courts. Eventually, experts say, the Supreme Court will rule on the issue.

Courts are also expected to decide whether school policies that limit bathroom access based on gender are in violation of the Constitution.

Grimm’s case will return to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. The court’s earlier ruling was based on Obama’s guidance that transgender students are protected under Title IX.

In February, a federal district judge in Pennsylvania ruled in favor of three transgender students attending Pine-Richland High School. The school, the court ruled, violated the students’ constitutional rights by refusing to allow them to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.

Similar cases are pending in other states, including Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio.