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Federal appeals court sends transgender bathroom case back to lower court

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] on Wednesday remanded [order, PDF] transgender student Gavin Grimm's case [JURIST news archive] against the Gloucester County School Board [official website] in order to determine whether the matter is now moot. Because Grimm graduated from Gloucester High School [official website] on June 10, the Board is now arguing that there is no longer an "actual controversy," a requisite for all stages of judicial review, as the school's bathroom policy no longer applies to Grimm. The Fourth Circuit stated that they did not have enough factual information to hand down a ruling on the issue of mootness. The matter will now return to the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] where the court will examine the record and hear the arguments from both sides to determine whether Grimm may continue his suit.

Grimm, a high school student at a Gloucester County school who identifies as male, was granted an order [JURIST report] by the district court in June of 2016 allowing him to use the boys' restroom while the court considered the legal issues of the case. This order came after a decision by the federal court in April 2016, which reversed a lower court decision in holding Grimm's rights under Title IX [official website], which prohibits discrimination in schools, were violated by the school board refusing his use of the men's restroom. It was at that time the Gloucester County School Board first stated its intention to ask the US Supreme Court to review the Fourth Circuit decision. The Supreme Court vacated [JURIST article] the order and remanded Grimm's matter back to the Fourth Circuit for further consideration in light of a move by the Trump administration to rescind guidelines [JURIST report] that school districts should allow students to use the bathroom of their choice.

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