Supreme Court declines to step into the fight over bathrooms for transgender students

The US Supreme Court is seen on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024, in Washington.
The US Supreme Court is seen on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024, in Washington.
AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Jan. 16 passed up a chance to intervene in the debate over bathrooms for transgender students, rejecting an appeal from an Indiana public school district.

Federal appeals courts are divided over whether school policies enforcing restrictions on which bathrooms transgender students can use violate federal law or the Constitution.

In the case the court rejected without comment, the Chicago-based US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld an order granting transgender boys access to the boys’ bathroom. The appeal came from the Metropolitan School District of Martinsville, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southwest of Indianapolis.

The federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, also has ruled in favor of transgender students, while the appeals court based in Atlanta came out the other way.

Legal battles over transgender rights are ongoing across the country, and at least nine states are restricting transgender students to bathrooms that match the sex they were assigned at birth.

In her opinion for the Seventh Circuit, Judge Diane Wood wrote that the high court’s involvement seems inevitable.

“Litigation over transgender rights is occurring all over the country, and we assume that at some point the Supreme Court will step in with more guidance than it has furnished so far,” Wood wrote.