Supreme Court Must Reject West Virginia’s Effort to Deny a 12-Year-Old Girl Her Right to Play

March 20, 2023 12:35 pm

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of West Virginia, and Lambda Legal urged the United States Supreme Court to reject an effort by West Virginia’s Attorney General to block a 12-year-old transgender girl from continuing to participate in school sports with her peers.

In a March 9 filing, Attorney General Patrick Morrissey asked the Supreme Court for an emergency motion allowing the state to enforce a ban on transgender student athletes and kick 12-year-old Becky Pepper-Jackson off her middle school’s track and field team. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit blocked the state’s effort to kick Becky off the team as the legal advocates appealed a lower court ruling upholding the 2021 ban in a lawsuit brought on Becky’s behalf.

The ACLU, the ACLU of West Virginia, and Lambda Legal issued the following joint statement:

“This emergency filing by Attorney General Morrissey is a petty and baseless move. Requests of this kind are typically reserved for high-stakes, time-sensitive matters — including pending death sentences and matters of national security. A 12-year-old girl playing with her peers is hardly an emergency, and we urge the court to deny the state’s request.”

West Virginia is one of 19 states that have banned transgender student athletes in just the last three years as part of an escalating wave of state-level restrictions on the rights of transgender people. Similar federal lawsuits are pending in Idaho and Tennessee.

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