Skip to content

Female athletes urge 2nd Circuit to protect women's sports in rehearing of CT case

ADF attorneys represent four female athletes in case before full court
Selina Soule and Alanna Smith at the starting line of a race track

NEW YORK – On behalf of four female athletes, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed their opening brief with the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit Thursday urging it to give female athletes the opportunity to make their case under Title IX.

Last month, the 2nd Circuit announced that the full court would hear Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools after a three-judge panel of the court ruled against protecting female athletes in December of last year. The four female athletes who filed suit were consistently deprived of honors and opportunities to compete at elite levels because the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference adopted a policy that allows males who identify as female to compete in girls’ athletic events.

“Selina, Chelsea, Alanna, and Ashley—like all female athletes—deserve access to fair competition. We’re pleased the 2nd Circuit is rehearing this important case, and we urge the court to protect women’s athletic opportunities,” said ADF Senior Counsel Christiana Kiefer. “Eighteen states have enacted laws that protect women and girls from having to compete against males, and polls show that a majority of Americans agree that the competition is no longer fair when males are permitted to compete in women’s sports. Every woman deserves the respect and dignity that comes with having an equal opportunity to excel and win in athletics, and ADF remains committed to protecting the future of women’s sports.”

The brief states that the CIAC’s policy “degraded each of the female athletes’ accomplishments and deprived them of high-level opportunities to compete and public recognition that would attract the notice of scouts, scholarship committees, and future employers or customers. Just as importantly, the policy forever scarred [the female athletes’] athletic records, irreparably harming each female athlete’s interest in accurate recognition of her athletic achievements.”

Starting in 2017, two male athletes began competing in Connecticut girls’ high school track. In just three years, those two males broke 17 girls’ track meet records, deprived girls of more than 85 opportunities to advance to the next level of competition, and took 15 women’s state track championship titles. Four of those championship titles were earned by ADF client Chelsea Mitchell. Four times she was the fastest female in a women’s state championship race, and four times she watched that title, honor, and recognition go to a male athlete instead. Over the course of her high school career, Mitchell lost to these males more than 20 times.

The other female athletes represented in this case—Selina Soule, Alanna Smith, and Ashley Nicoletti—all likewise have been denied medals, placements, or advancement opportunities because of the male athletes competing on their team.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

# # #

Related Profiles

Christiana Kiefer
Christiana Kiefer
Senior Counsel
Christiana (Holcomb) Kiefer serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is a key member of the Center for Conscience Initiatives.