Glouchester County School Board v. G.G.

Posted: November 30, 2016 by beguide in Agency Law, case summaries, Equal Protection, Fantasy Supreme Court League, Government Action, Governmental Agencies, Uncategorized


WHAT HAPPENED:  A Virginia School District made a rule that infringed upon a transgender student’s ability to choose which bathroom to use.  The student filed suit and lost at the original level.  The Federal Government (by way of the Dept. of Education) stepped in and stated that this action violated Title IX, which was the basis for the Fourth Circuit’s reversal of the lower decision in favor of the student.  In other words, the student is currently winning based on the opinion by the Department of Education.

WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT:  For one, it’s not the reason you think it is.  While there are certainly Equal Protection issues, Substantive Due Process issues, and general Constitutional concerns, this issue comes down to agency law; and specifically whether the Department of Education had the authority to issue an opinion based on Title IX, and whether the Fourth Circuit should have followed that opinion.

WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS:  For one, it’s not as significant as you might think.  While a ruling in favor of G.G. would give more power to trans students in an educational setting, there are probably very little ramifications outside of this specific context.  The issue in this case is limited to the value of the Department of Education’s opinion, so affirming that opinion would likely just benefit this student.  Similarly, a ruling against G.G. would likely just state that the grounds for the decision were wrong and that the Court has to review the findings again fresh.  To whatever extent this makes you feel better, a ruling against G.G. is not the end of the world, as the Court could still rule in favor of the student, just on different grounds.   Ultimately, the ramifications of this ruling are very limited to the problem at hand, even though the circumstances are a hot button issue.

ROOT FOR GLOUCHESTER COUNTY IF: (and only if) if you do not agree with the Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals’ reliance on that opinion.

ROOT FOR G.G. IF: (and only if) you do agree with the Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals’ reliance on that opinion.

PREDICTION:  4-4 push.

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