U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear Challenge from United States, Families, and Doctors Against Transgender Health Care Ban

Affiliate: ACLU of Tennessee
June 24, 2024 10:03 am

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WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court of the United States has granted certiorari in a legal challenge brought by the United States and Tennessee families and a medical provider against a 2023 state law banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth. The court is not expected to hear arguments until next fall.

“The future of countless transgender youth in this and future generations rests on this Court adhering to the facts, the Constitution, and its own modern precedent,” said Chase Strangio, Deputy Director for Transgender Justice at the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project. “These bans represent a dangerous and discriminatory affront to the well-being of transgender youth across the country and their Constitutional right to equal protection under the law. They are the result of an openly political effort to wage war on a marginalized group and our most fundamental freedoms. We want transgender people and their families across the country to know we will spare nothing in our defense of you, your loved ones, and your right to decide whether to get this medical care.”

"This Court has historically rejected efforts to uphold discriminatory laws, and without similar action here, these punitive, categorical bans on the provision of gender-affirming care will continue to wreak havoc on the lives of transgender youth and their families," said Tara Borelli, Senior Counsel at Lambda Legal. "We are grateful that transgender youth and their families will have their day in the highest court, and we will not stop fighting to ensure access to this life-saving, medically necessary care."

"Tennesseans deserve the freedom to live their lives as their authentic selves without government interference, yet every day this law remains in place, it inflicts further pain and injustice on trans youth and their families. The Court has the power to protect trans youth’s right to access the healthcare they need by striking down this discriminatory law,” said Lucas Cameron-Vaughn, staff attorney at the ACLU of Tennessee. "As politicians continue to fuel divisions for their own political gain, it's crucial to recognize that for trans youth and their families, this isn't about politics — it's about the fundamental freedom to access vital, life-saving healthcare. We are steadfast in our commitment to fiercely advocate for trans youth and their families, ensuring they have the autonomy to access the care they need to survive and thrive, and the Court has the opportunity to make that future a reality."

"We are pleased the Supreme Court has agreed to hear this critically significant case, said Dean Chapman, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP litigation partner. "As our petition emphasized, Provision of gender-affirming care to adolescents is “an issue of profound importance to parents, children, their doctors and communities, and the nation at large. Akin is proud to stand with the ACLU, Lambda Legal and the United States in the Supreme Court to defend access to that lifesaving health care for our clients and others across the country."

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Tennessee, Lambda Legal, and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP asked the Court to review a September 2023 decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals allowing Tennessee’s ban to stay in effect. The United States intervened in the Plaintiffs’ case at the district court and also asked the Court to review the Sixth Circuit decision. The Tennessee law prohibits medical providers from treating transgender youth with evidence-based gender-affirming medical treatment and requires youth receiving gender-affirming care to end that care by March 31, 2024.

Applying the Supreme Court’s 2020 ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County and other long-standing precedents, trial courts have blocked such bans in Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. In June 2023, a federal court in Arkansas struck down that state’s ban on gender-affirming care after a two-week trial in the first and only post-trial ruling on the constitutionality of such a law, finding it violated the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment as well as the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The Supreme Court granted the Petition filed by the United States, which was a party in the Plaintiffs’ case. The United States’s granted petition can be found here.

More on LW. v. Skrmetti can be found here.

This case is part of the ACLU’s Joan and Irwin Jacobs Supreme Court Docket.

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