North Carolina ‘bathroom bill’ settlement approved

FILE PHOTO: A bathroom sign welcomes both genders in Durham, North Carolina May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – Transgender people in North Carolina can use any public restroom in state-run buildings that conforms with their gender identity under a U.S. court settlement approved on Tuesday, in the latest turn of a long-running dispute that divided the state.

The settlement, which overturns part of state law, ends a three-year legal fight by transgender people in North Carolina seeking the right to use the bathroom of their gender identity.

A 2016 North Carolina law, known as House Bill 2, required transgender people in state-run buildings use the bathrooms, changing rooms and showers that corresponded to the sex on their birth certificates.

The American Civil Liberties Union represented transgender plaintiffs seeking to block the law in court, arguing it violated their rights to equal protection and privacy under the U.S. Constitution.

“While this part of the court fight may be ending, so much urgent work remains as long as people who are LGBTQ are denied basic protections from violence and discrimination simply because of who they are,” Irena Como, acting legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina, said in a statement.

Some businesses and sports leagues boycotted North Carolina after the passage of the law, which they saw as discriminatory against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

Lawmakers in some other states had proposed similar legislation that failed to advance.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder ruled in 2016 that the state’s university system must allow transgender students to use bathrooms matching their gender identity.

Democratic former President Barack Obama’s administration also challenged the law in court.

Facing pressure in the courts, the North Carolina legislature in 2017 replaced House Bill 2 with House Bill 142.

The bill stated that the state legislature had the power to regulate bathroom access, but the legislature did not take action at that time to define access.

The new law left transgender people in limbo, according to the ACLU, which amended its lawsuit to challenge the new law.

The ACLU and the group Lambda Legal later reached a settlement with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, the ACLU said in a statement. It went to Schroeder for final approval.

Schroeder, in an eight-page ruling on Tuesday, said the settlement bars state officials from using the legislation “to prevent transgender people from lawfully using public facilities in accordance with their gender identity.”

The Republican-controlled North Carolina General Assembly filed court papers opposing the settlement.

House Bill 142 continues to prohibit cities in North Carolina from creating their own ordinances protecting LGBT people from discrimination until December 2020, and that was not affected by the agreement, according to the ACLU.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Colorado police probe what sparked deadly shooting at suburban school

People wait outside near the STEM School during a shooting incident in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, U.S. in this May 7, 2019 image obtained via social media. SHREYA NALLAPATI/VIA REUTERS

By Keith Coffman

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (Reuters) – Colorado police on Wednesday tried to determine why two students walked into their school and allegedly opened fire with handguns, killing one person and wounding eight, miles from the site of one of the nation’s deadliest school massacres.

Douglas County sheriff Tony Spurlock told a morning news conference that one of the suspected shooters at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School in Highlands Ranch, previously identified as male, was a female under the age of 18. The other suspect was Devon Erickson, 18, he said.

A police officer reassures people waiting outside near the STEM School during a shooting incident in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, U.S. in this May 7, 2019 still frame obtained via social media video. SHREYA NALLAPATI/VIA REUTERS

A police officer reassures people waiting outside near the STEM School during a shooting incident in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, U.S. in this May 7, 2019 still frame obtained via social media video. SHREYA NALLAPATI/VIA REUTERS

He declined to identify the person slain in the attack, other than to say he was an 18-year-old male who had been due to graduate in the three days.

The reason for the attack remained unclear, Spurlock said.

Denver’s ABC television affiliate, citing an unidentified police source, reported on Tuesday that one of the suspects wanted to transition to male from female and had been bullied for it.

Spurlock declined to answer a reporter’s question about whether the younger suspect was transgender.

“Right now we are identifying the individual as a female, because that’s where we’re at,” he said. “We originally thought the juvenile was a male by appearance.”

Spurlock said the suspect had been identified as male “before the detectives were able to get the medical – and detectives were able to speak to her.”

Erickson was expected in Douglas County District Court in nearby Castle Rock at 1:30 p.m. MDT (1830 GMT). The second suspect also will appear in court on Wednesday, said District Attorney George Brauchler.

The two suspects opened fire in two separate classrooms and were arrested within minutes at the public charter school about 25 miles (40 km) south of Denver, Spurlock said.

“A student’s life was taken too soon by this act of violence,” Colorado Governor Jared Polis said at a news conference. “I share the heartbreak, the frustration, the sickness.”

Some of the worst mass shootings in the United States have occurred in Colorado.

The attack occurred less than a month after the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in nearby Littleton, about 5 miles (8 km) from the Highlands Ranch school.

In 2012 a man opened fire at a movie theater in Aurora, another Denver suburb, killing 12 people and wounding scores more.

What happened inside the STEM school remains unclear.

Spurlock said there was a “struggle” as officers entered the building and some students said one victim was shot in the chest as he tried to tackle a shooter.

A man who identified himself as Fernando Montoya said his 17-year-old son, a junior at STEM, was shot three times when a shooter walked into his classroom and opened fire.

“He said a guy pulled a pistol out of a guitar case and started to shoot,” Montoya told the Denver TV station.

The bloodshed shocked the affluent suburb of Highlands Ranch. Parents and students had considered the school a safe place for its 1,850 pupils ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade.

The attack came a week after a gunman opened fire on the Charlotte campus of the University of North Carolina, killing two people and wounding four others.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen and Peter Szekely in New York and Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Bill Trott)

Supreme Court to decide if LGBT workers protected under sex discrimination law

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court building is seen in Washington, U.S., March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether U.S. law banning workplace discrimination on the basis of sex protects gay and transgender workers, as the conservative-majority court waded into a fierce dispute involving a divisive social issue.

At issue in the high-profile legal fight is whether gay and transgender people are covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex as well as race, color, national origin and religion.

The court will take up two cases concerning gay people who have said they were fired due to their sexual orientation, one involving a New York skydiving instructor named Donald Zarda and another brought by a former county child welfare services coordinator from Georgia named Gerald Bostock.

The court also will take up a Detroit funeral home’s bid to reverse a ruling that it violated federal law by firing a transgender funeral director named Aimee Stephens after Stephens revealed plans to transition from male to female.

The court will hear oral arguments and issue a ruling in its next term, which starts in October.

President Donald Trump’s administration has argued that Title VII does not cover sexual orientation or gender identity. The Republican president’s administration reversed the approach taken under Democratic former President Barack Obama by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces federal laws banning workplace discrimination.

The Title VII fight marks the first major test on a divisive social issue for the nine justices since Trump’s conservative appointee Brett Kavanaugh joined the court in October after a contentious Senate confirmation process. Kavanaugh replaced Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative noted for his support for gay rights who retired last year.

Kennedy wrote the 5-4 ruling in 2015 legalizing gay marriage nationally, a landmark in the U.S. gay rights movement. Kennedy also was the author of the court’s important 2003 ruling striking down laws criminalizing gay sex.

The Supreme Court has a 5-4 conservative majority that includes two Trump appointees, Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

The legal fight centers on the definition of “sex” in Title VII. The plaintiffs in the cases, along with civil rights groups and many large companies, have argued that discriminating against gay and transgender workers is inherently based on their sex and thus is unlawful.

But Trump’s Justice Department and the employers that were sued have argued that Congress did not mean for Title VII to extend to gay and transgender people when it passed the law in 1964.

Zarda, fired after revealing his sexual orientation in 2010, died in a 2014 accident while participating in a form of skydiving in which people jump off a high structure or cliff. His estate has continued the litigation.

The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in February 2018 ruled in Zarda’s favor after a trial judge threw out his original claim.

Bostock worked for Clayton County, just south of Atlanta, from 2003 until being fired in 2013 shortly after he started participating in a gay recreational softball league called the “Hotlanta Softball League.” The county has said he was fired following an audit of the program he managed. His lawsuit was tossed out the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Harris Funeral Homes, the employer in the transgender case, is owned by Thomas Rost, who identifies himself as a devout Christian. The company has a strict sex-specific dress code that requires male employees to wear suits and women to wear dresses or skirts. Stephens, formerly known as Anthony Stephens, joined the company in October 2007.

Stephens was fired when he announced plans to transition from male to female.

Rost said that “this is not going to work out,” according to court papers. Stephens subsequently turned to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which sued on Stephens’ behalf in 2014. The company is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal group.

The Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2018 ruled against the company.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

Colorado baker in case of Supreme Court sues state over ‘persecution’

FILE PHOTO: Baker Jack Phillips decorates a cake in his Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado U.S. on September 21, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) – A Colorado baker who won a narrow Supreme Court victory over his refusal to make a wedding cake for a gay couple is suing the state after it launched another case against him for declining to create a cake for a transgender woman.

Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in the city of Lakewood, accuses Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission of violating his constitutional rights to free speech, freedom of religion, equal protection and due process, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Denver on Tuesday.

“This lawsuit is necessary to stop Colorado’s continuing persecution of Phillips,” the written complaint alleges. Also named in the lawsuit are Governor John Hickenlooper and Cynthia Coffman, the state attorney general.

Phillips seeks permanent injunctions against the state from taking any enforcement action against Phillips, who the lawsuit says was “vindicated” by the Supreme Court ruling.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled that the Colorado’s civil rights commission was hostile toward Phillips’ Christian beliefs when it cited him for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in 2012, but did not rule on whether he violated Colorado’s public accommodation statute.

Through a spokeswoman, the civil rights commission declined to comment on Phillips’ lawsuit.

The lawsuit stems from a complaint filed by Denver attorney Autumn Scardina with the civil rights commission in 2017, in which she claims that Phillips refused to bake a cake that “celebrates my transition from male to female,” court documents showed.

Scardina did not immediately return a phone message left at her law office.

The director of the state’s Civil Rights Division, Aubrey Elenis, ruled in June that Phillips discriminated against Scardina.

“The evidence thus demonstrates that the refusal to provide service to (Scardina) was based on (her) transgender status,” Elenis wrote in a probable cause determination.

The finding by Elenis requires both sides to resolve the issue through “compulsory mediation,” the document said.

Phillips is also seeking $100,000 in punitive damages against Elenis “for her unconstitutional actions,” according to the lawsuit.

Daniel Ramos, executive director of One Colorado, a group that advocates for the LGBTQ community, blasted the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the conservative Christian group whose lawyers represent Phillips.

“We have seen the ADF launch similar lawsuits across the country that target nondiscrimination laws and civil rights agencies, and this broad lawsuit they filed on behalf of Jack Phillips reads as more of the same,” Ramos said.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Editing by Dan WHitcomb)

Male, female or X? Oregon adds third option to driver’s licenses

FILE PHOTO: An employee of the advocacy group Basic Rights Oregon hands out stickers during an Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle department public hearing on the rights of transgender people as the state considers adding a third gender choice to driver's licenses and identification cards, in Portland, Oregon, May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester/File Photo

By Terray Sylvester

(Reuters) – Oregon on Thursday became the first U.S. state to allow residents to identify as neither male nor female on state driver’s licenses, a decision that transgender advocates called a victory for civil rights.

Under a policy unanimously adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission, residents can choose to have an “X,” for non-specified, displayed on their driver’s license or identification cards rather than an “M” for male or “F” for female.

The policy change was cheered by supporters as a major step in expanding legal recognition and civil rights for people who do not identify as male or female. This includes individuals with both male and female anatomies, people without a gender identity and those who identify as a different gender than listed on their birth certificate.

The state’s Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division expects to start offering the option in July.

“I very much plan to head to the nearest DMV and ask for that ID to be corrected on July 3rd,” said Jamie Shupe, an Army veteran who successfully petitioned for the non-binary gender option. “And then I’ll no doubt stand out front of the building, or sit in the car, and cry.”

Transgender rights have become a flashpoint across the United States after some states, including North Carolina, have tried to restrict transgender people’s use of public bathrooms.

At the end of May, a federal court ruled that a transgender boy must be allowed to use the boys’ bathrooms at his high school in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The decision in Oregon comes a year after a Portland circuit court judge granted a request by Shupe to change gender from female to a third, nongender option.

That 2016 ruling prompted state officials to examine how to allow a third option in the state’s computer systems and how such a change would interact with the state’s gender laws.

During public hearings on the change, most comments were in favor, according to a summary by DMV officials.

A handful of people questioned the need for the third option and expressed concern that the change would complicate police officers’ efforts to identify people.

Having the third option on legal documentation can help reduce discrimination and raise awareness of “the spectrum of gender identity,” said Diane Goodwin, spokeswoman for Basic Rights Oregon, an advocacy group that campaigned for the “X” option.

Nearly one-third of transgender people who showed an ID with a name or gender that did not match their perceived gender reported harassment, discrimination or assault, according to a 2015 survey of more than 20,000 people in all states.

A DMV spokesman added the agency has no estimate of how many people might apply for the new IDs.

(Reporting by Terray Sylvester in Hood River, Oregon; Writing by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Texas House passes ‘bathroom bill’ targeting public schools

The U.S flag and the Texas State flag fly over the Texas State Capitol in Austin,

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – The Texas House of Representatives gave formal approval on Monday to a bill that would restrict bathroom access for transgender students in public schools, a measure that critics say promotes discrimination against such children.

The state’s Republican-controlled legislature has been at the forefront in advancing measures seen by backers as protecting traditional values and religious liberty but criticized by civil rights groups as eroding protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, people.

The Texas House gave preliminary approval on Sunday night to the bill, which requires public school students to use bathrooms, changing facilities and locker rooms that match their biological sex, not the gender with which they identify.

The measure is narrower in scope than a bathroom bill passed along mostly party lines by the state Senate in March that extended to state universities and public buildings.

The Senate bill is similar to one enacted last year in North Carolina. The North Carolina law prompted economic boycotts and the loss of sporting events, and was later revamped in the face of criticism.

The more limited House measure is seen as a way to avoid an economic backlash in Texas, analysts said.

“It is absolutely about child safety,” Republican state Representative Chris Paddie, who managed the bill, said in House debate on Sunday.

The measure heads back to the Senate for consideration of changes made since it was in that chamber. Republican Governor Greg Abbott has said he supports a bathroom bill.

Critics said the House and Senate versions undermined civil rights and used children as political pawns.

“There is no moral middle ground on discrimination, ” said Kathy Miller, president of the civil liberties advocacy group Texas Freedom Network.

The legislature on Monday also sent to the governor a bill allowing adoption agencies to reject families on religious grounds, an action slammed by critics as discriminatory against LGBT Texans and non-Christians.

LGBT rights groups said they would challenge the adoption bill in court if it became law, arguing discrimination in the name of religion had no place in the state.

The bill’s backers, which include several Christian groups, said it banned no one and had a mechanism for the state government to offer alternative adoption providers if any service is denied for religious beliefs.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Peter Cooney)

North Carolina lawmakers reach deal to repeal transgender bathroom law

A sign protesting a North Carolina law restricting transgender bathroom access. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

(Reuters) – North Carolina Republican lawmakers said late on Wednesday they had reached a deal to repeal the state’s controversial law prohibiting transgender people from using restrooms in accordance with their gender identities.

The compromise, reached with Democratic Governor Roy Cooper and set to go before the legislature for a vote Thursday morning, would still ban local municipalities, schools and others from regulating bathroom access.

It would also effectively forbid cities from offering their own job and restroom protections to vulnerable groups for nearly four years.

“Compromise requires give and take from all sides, and we are pleased this proposal fully protects bathroom safety and privacy,” the state’s top Republican lawmakers, Senate leader Phil Berger and House of Representatives Speaker Tim Moore, said in a statement released late Wednesday.

The pair announced the deal at an impromptu news conference.

The compromise with Cooper, a staunch opponent of the bathroom law, was reached hours before the state was reportedly set to lose its ability to host any NCAA basketball championships.

The college athletic association is one of numerous organizations to sanction or boycott North Carolina in the wake of the law’s passage last year.

Cooper said earlier this week that the measure could end up costing the state nearly $4 billion.

He said he supported the compromise. “It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation.”

But it remained unclear whether the compromise would be acceptable to those who believe North Carolina was unfriendly to the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

In an impassioned news conference before the deal was announced, several leading LGBT activists decried its provisions, including the bar on municipalities regulating employment practices and “public accommodations”.

“This is a dirty deal,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. He vowed to continue fighting North Carolina in court and in the public sphere if the new measure passes and is signed by Cooper.

On Twitter Wednesday night, San Francisco-based Levi Strauss & Co., which has publicly opposed North Carolina’s transgender bathroom law, urged lawmakers to reject what it called a “backroom” deal.

(This version of the story corrects Griffin quote in paragraph 12, replacing “bill” with “deal”)

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

New Hampshire legislature blocks bill on transgender rights

File Photo: A man holds a flag as he takes part in an annual Gay Pride Parade in Toronto June 28, 2009. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

By Scott Malone

(Reuters) – State legislators in New Hampshire narrowly blocked a bill on Thursday that would have prohibited discrimination against transgender people, including allowing them to use the public bathrooms that match the gender with which they identify.

Transgender rights are a politically charged issue in the United States. Supporters say bills like the one blocked on Thursday protect people who do not conform to their birth gender, while opponents say they could give cover to voyeurs and sexual predators.

The 187-179 vote by the Republican-controlled New Hampshire House of Representatives to table the bill without debate came one day after Governor Chris Sununu, also a Republican, said he had no position on the matter.

Many Democrats had supported the bill.

“With Sununu’s support, the bill, which was tabled by a slim margin, would be on its way to the corner office,” said Ray Buckley, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. “His silence and apathy are a tacit endorsement of discrimination, and he will have to live with the fact that he denied many transgender people the freedom that is granted through equality under the law.”

A spokesman for Sununu whose father, John Sununu, was a New Hampshire governor and later White House chief of staff in the first Bush administration, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This was the latest in a string of defeats for transgender rights this week. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday threw out a lower court ruling in favor of a Virginia transgender student after President Donald Trump rescinded a policy put in place last year protecting such youths.

A Texas Senate committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would require people to use public restrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates.

That measure is similar to one passed last year in North Carolina, which sparked boycotts that are estimated to have cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Due to economic concerns, analysts do not expect the Texas measure to pass the state House.

Despite their dominance in New Hampshire’s government, Republicans in the state legislature do not unanimously support the party’s national agenda. Last month state legislators blocked a bill that would have allowed employees in union-represented jobs not to pay dues.

(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

Eleven U.S. states to drop suit over transgender bathroom order

An activist waves a rainbow flag during the "Queer and Trans Dance Party" in protest of U.S. President Donald Trump outside of Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., February 26, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Ornitz

(Reuters) – Eleven U.S. states have agreed to drop a lawsuit against an Obama administration order for transgender students to use bathrooms of their choice after the measure was revoked by President Donald Trump, a court filing showed on Thursday.

In a filing in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Justice Department said the states, led by Texas, had agreed to drop the lawsuit, and it was dropping its appeal against a federal judge’s August stay on the Obama directive.

In their suit in May, the states said Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration overstepped its authority by ordering public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms matching their gender identity, rather than their birth gender, or risk losing federal funding.

Obama officials had said that barring students from such bathrooms violated Title IX, the federal law that forbids sex discrimination in education.

But the directive enraged conservatives who say federal civil rights protections cover biological sex, not gender identity. Obama was succeeded by Trump, a Republican, when he left office in January.

Texas was joined in the lawsuit by Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The Arizona Department of Education, Maine Republican Governor Paul LePage and two school districts also were parties to the suit.

A federal judge in August barred adoption of the order during the hearing of the case. The Justice Department appealed the stay, saying it should only apply to the states challenging the order.

Last week, the Trump administration rescinded the order, leaving states and school boards to decide how to accommodate transgender students.

Other lawsuits about the rights of transgender students are being heard in the courts.

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on March 28 addressing the question of whether the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia can block a female-born transgender student from using the boys’ bathroom.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

School board in key transgender case seeks U.S. high court delay

File Photo: A bathroom sign welcomes both genders at the Cacao Cinnamon coffee shop in Durham, North Carolina, United States on May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake/File Photo

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Virginia school board sued by a student over bathroom access in a major transgender rights case asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to delay the matter until at least April, when President Donald Trump’s conservative nominee could be on the bench and potentially cast the deciding vote.

Lawyers on both sides of the dispute urged the justices to decide the case even though the Trump administration on Feb. 22 rescinded Obama administration guidance to public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity. The Gloucester County School Board asked for the delay so the Trump administration, which is not a party in the case, can file a brief providing its views.

The court, currently one justice short, has scheduled oral arguments for March 28 on whether the school board violated a federal anti-discrimination law when it blocked Gavin Grimm, a female-born transgender high school student who identifies as male, from using the boys’ bathroom. A ruling is due by the end of June.

Trump on Jan. 31 nominated appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy on the court caused by the February 2016 death of conservative justice Antonin Scalia. The Senate has scheduled Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings to begin on March 20 and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he hopes Gorsuch will be confirmed before the start of a Senate recess in mid-April.

The court currently has four conservatives and four liberals. Gorsuch’s confirmation would restore a long-standing conservative majority.

If the justices delay arguments until the court’s two-week session beginning April 17 or even put it over until the next court term starts in October, Gorsuch potentially could participate. If the court hears the case with eight justices, it could split 4-4, which would leave in place a lower court’s ruling favoring the student, Gavin Grimm, but set no nationwide legal precedent.

The justice asked both sides to weigh in after the Trump administration’s action.

Although Trump’s decision to roll back Obama’s May 2016 guidance effectively knocked out one of the legal questions in the case, lawyers on both sides said the justices can still decide whether a federal law, known as Title IX, that bars sex discrimination in education covers transgender students.

Trump’s move “makes resolution of that question more urgent than ever,” said Joshua Block, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who represents Grimm and opposed a postponement.

“Delaying resolution of that question will only lead to further harm, confusion and protracted litigation for transgender students and school districts across the country,” Block added.

The court could take a more cautious approach and send the case back to the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its April 2016 ruling in favor of Grimm in light of the Trump administration’s action.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)