On Monday, news broke that the Supreme Court had decided to "sidestep" ruling on what was shaping up to be a critical case for transgender rights. The Supreme Court sent Gavin Grimm's case back to a lower court, effectively avoiding ruling on the transgender teen's suit against his high school in Virginia's Gloucester County. The case will now go back to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In 2015, Grimm sued the Gloucester County School Board after he was not allowed to use the men's room, even though that matches his gender identity. Grimm's case embodies many of the key concerns over the future of transgender rights, especially since the Trump administration recently rescinded the Obama administration's executive order protections for transgender students that allowed them to choose the bathroom that matched their gender identity.
When the 4th Circuit previously heard Grimm's case, it ruled in favor him, siding with his argument that the Gloucester County School Board had violated federal anti-discrimination. However, as the Washington Post noted "The 4th Circuit had relied on the federal government’s guidance that schools should let transgender students use the bathroom that corresponds with the student’s gender identity." Since the Trump administration revoked that federal guidance directed by Obama, it is by no means certain that the court would view Grimm's case the same way.
The Supreme Court was scheduled to begin hearing Grimm's case on March 28. There was concern after Trump's rescinding of federal protections for transgender students that the highest court in the land would avoid ruling on it, and lawyers for both Grimm and the Gloucester County School Board not to delay ruling on it.
NBC News reported last week that the Supreme Court had received several amicus briefs, or "friend of the court" briefs, in support of Grimm, including the National Parent-Teacher Association, the Anti-Defamation League, and the NAACP. More than 200 members of Congress also submitted ones, and more than 50 corporations, including Amazon, eBay, Twitter, and Yelp, signed on, as well, reported Quartz.
Grimm received a court order that allowed him to use the boys' bathroom at his school, but the Supreme Court placed that order on hold. As TIME noted, the Supreme Court's decision to send his case back to the lower court means that Grimm, who is currently a senior, will probably graduate from high school before there is a ruling on transgender students' bathroom rights.