Ninth Circuit upholds injunction in favor of Idaho transgender athletes

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The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld an injunction against an Idaho law that prohibits transgender athletes from participating in student athletics.

The court’s decision, announced Thursday, says the law likely infringes upon the rights of transgender students under the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. While the legal case works its way through the courts, the law is being held in abeyance.

Judge Kim Wardlaw wrote that the district court judge ruled correctly because the act targets only female athletes, and because it subjects them to “an intrusive sex verification process” if their gender was challenged. Idaho also failed to show that the law improved gender equality, Wardlaw wrote, calling the Idaho law Aa “’desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot constitute a legitimate governmental interest.”

The Idaho law, which bans transgender athletes from engaging in competitive sports that do not align with their actual biological gender, reflects a national legal battle over the rights of female athletes and the males that seek to destroy fair competition by competing in their category, which is happening with great frequency across the country.

The case was brought by the ACLU of Idaho on behalf of Lindsay Hecox, a transgender student at Boise State University who aspired to participate in cross-country and club soccer, and Kayden Hulquist, a female student from Boise High School who wants transgenders to be able to compete against girls and women. The ACLU calls Kayden a cisgender, a term that some say is intended to diminish the authenticity of women in an effort to not hurt the feelings of transgenders.

“The Act bars all transgender women and girls from participating in, or trying out for, public school female sports teams at every age, from primary school through college, and at every level of competition, from intramural to elite teams. It also provides a sex dispute verification process whereby any individual can “dispute” the sex of any female student athlete in the state of Idaho and require her to undergo intrusive medical procedures to verify her sex, including gynecological exams. Male student athletes in Idaho are not subject to a similar dispute process,” the Ninth Circuit panel ruled.

“The panel held that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it found, on the record before it, that plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the Act violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

Because the Act subjects only women and girls who wish to participate in public school athletic competitions to an intrusive sex verification process and categorically bans transgender women and girls at all levels, regardless of whether they have gone through puberty or hormone therapy, from competing on female, women, or girls teams, and because the State of Idaho failed to adduce any evidence demonstrating that the Act is substantially related to its asserted interests in sex equality and opportunity for women athletes, the panel held that plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their equal protection claim, the decision claimed.

Alaska’s judge on the Ninth Circuit, Morgan Christen, dissented in part and concurred in part with the majority:

Judge Christen, who is female, wrote that given the categorical sweep of the ban on transgender students, the medical consensus that circulating testosterone rather than transgender status is an accurate proxy for athletic performance, and that because of the unusual and extreme nature of the Idaho law’s sex verification requirements, the district court did not abuse its discretion by granting the injunction.

“Disagreeing with the majority in part, Judge Christen wrote that she read the sex dispute verification provision to apply to any student, male or female, who participates on women’s or girls’ athletic teams. Accordingly, it is the team an athlete chooses to join that dictates whether they are subject to the statute’s verification process, not the athlete’s sex. Judge Christen also wrote that the district court’s injunction lacked specificity as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(d)(1) because it failed, among other things, to specify whether it was enjoining all provisions of the Act, or only some of them, or whether it was enjoining any specific provision of the Act in its entirety or only as applied to certain classes of individuals. Finally, Judge Christen stated that the injunction was overbroad to the extent that it applies to transgender women who are not receiving gender-affirming hormone therapy,” the decision said.

The Alaska Board of Education is considering a regulation that does not bar athletes from competing but says they must compete in their biological gender.

14 COMMENTS

  1. An “intrusive sex verification process?” Uh, if you want to be the sex other than what you were born with, then drop your drawers in front of the judge and show him/her in chambers what you have. Verification by court order. It gets no simpler than that, idiots.

  2. Thanks for your careful explanation of this Suzanne. More welfare for lawyers, and judges who cannot understand or use common sense (which of course is not a “legal doctrine”…). This insanity is convoluted deliberately to confuse the unwary and frustrate anyone who can actually think. SCOTUS, how long will it be before you tell us what a woman is? (As if we don’t already know…) RBG punted – why is this difficult at all? My sympathies to those struggling with gender disphoria, but reordering society to accommodate fantasy is a fool’s errand.

  3. Frankly it’s getting harder and harder to care. The fetishism of mentally ill men by progressives seems to be their overriding concern.

    The left is determined to destroy our society. And the courts seem determined to let them. Hell, the judiciary often leads the charge.

    Does make one wonder why the left, especially leftist women, hate women so much.

  4. The problem is not that of discrimination but rather definition. A so-called “transgender woman” is a man; full stop. A so-called “cisgender woman” is a woman; full stop. A so-called “biological man” is a man; full stop. Clearly, we don’t need a law protecting men from women engaging in men’s sports. To compare that scenario to men participating in women’s sports is ludicrous. The simplest moron easily understands that plain truth while elitist, leftist judges reject it. Consequently, our culture is descending into s miasma of nonsense defined by a web of politically-correct lies.

  5. ACLU describes her as cisgender, MRAK quotes ‘some” as a rebuttal. Cisgender is a medical term, some is not a legitimate reference

    • Cisgender is NOT a medical term. It came about due to a Tic Toc influencer a few years ago. “Cis” is a Latin prefix meaning on “on this side”…

      • No and yes. The word can be traced to at least 15 years ago on various websites. I distinctly remember running into the word over an over again when visiting gaming forums back in the day. You are right about it not being a medical term.

  6. Real women need to start their own private sports leagues and invite who they want. The government has no right to them who can of can’t play.

  7. Is it really necessary to determine sex that way? Isn’t it easier to look at birth certificates or chromosomes?

    They claim their method of determining sex is intrusive, but how intrusive is it for females to be subjected to nude males in their private spaces? No concern over that?

  8. I’m still waiting to hear from the #MeToo movement that was so vocal during the Trump years and made many headlines. We have (had) a very active movement here in Juneau that made regular appearances at the courthouses and Legislative buildings. Where are they, do true women no longer have relevance? Apparently not, they are now relegated to mere “birthing persons.”

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