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Alliance Alert

Mar 10, 2017

SCOTUS Only Delays Student Privacy Issue

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court sent Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit for reconsideration.

We already talked about what that means in the context of the 4th Circuit and this particular case.

But what about the rest of the nation? Other states are dealing with student privacy as well.

Over at The Daily Signal, ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell takes up that very question. Before answering it, Campbell describes the issue in broad terms:

"[Student privacy] cases all revolve around one central issue. Gender identity advocates insist that the term 'sex' in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972—a statute that prohibits public schools from discriminating 'on the basis of sex'—includes the altogether distinct notion of 'gender identity.'

"This argument is a stretch. Sex, after all, is fundamentally different from gender identity.

"Sex is rooted in biological reality determined at birth by objective criteria like anatomy and chromosomes. But gender identity is based on subjective perceptions—the idea that a person’s status as male, female, or something in between depends on what he thinks about himself."

Campbell is right: Biological sex is objective, despite the wishes of proponents of gender identity who want to put subjective notions of identity above clear (except in rare cases) biological reality.

Getting to the question at hand, Campbell continues:

"Although gender identity advocates have lost the tremendous advantage of having the executive branch champion their cause, they will undoubtedly continue to press their position in court. And the Supreme Court’s decision not to rule in the Gloucester case reignites many cases that will give them occasion to do just that.

"Students concerned about their privacy rights have filed a number of these cases—one in Illinois and another in Minnesota. They attend public schools that allow classmates of the opposite sex to share their locker rooms and restrooms, and they object to this violation of their dignity and privacy.

"These cases will soon resume, and within no time, many more courts will decide whether federal law forces schools to allow boys who identify as girls to share locker rooms with female students.

"Once those courts rule, advocates will again ask the Supreme Court to settle the issue once and for all. Should the court agree to do that, we’ll find ourselves exactly where we were just a few days ago."

Even though the Supreme Court's decision made sense given the Trump administration's decision, Campbell is spot on here: These cases are far from over. It won't be this term, but it seems inevitable that the Supreme Court will have a similar case before it in the coming years.

  • Case:G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board
  • transgender
  • Jim Campbell
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