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Anti-gay groups are reprimanded by the Clerk of the US Supreme Court

Anti-gay groups are reprimanded by the Clerk of the US Supreme Court

Not only did the groups raise the ire of the US Supreme Court, but they gave away their false position at the same time. In the case of GG vs Gloucester County School Board, the landmark trans student case currently before the US Supreme Court, counsel for the National Organization for Marriage, the Liberty Counsel and the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence received brief letters from Scott S. Harris, the Clerk of the Court. In the letters, sent on Mr Harris’ behalf by Denise McNerney, Merits Case Clerk, he reprimands the amicus briefs of the three organizations for misgendering the plaintiff in the case, both in the caption to the case, as well as throughout their argument against the plaintiff in their briefs.

It has come to the attention of this office that the cover of your
amicus brief in this case identifies the respondent as “G.G., by her next friend and mother, Deirdre Grimm.” In fact, the caption for the case in this Court, as in the lower courts, identifies the respondent as “G.G., by
his Next Friend and Mother, Deirdre Grimm.” (Emphasis added.) Under Rule 34, your cover is to reflect the caption of the case. Please ensure careful compliance with this requirement in this and other cases in the future.

Because the plaintiff in the case is only 17, the policy of the US Supreme Court is to only identify them with their initials. However, the plaintiff in the case has been very public with his cause, even appearing on television with his story, he is Gavin Grimm, a female to male transgender boy. The defendant in the case, the Gloucester County School Board, refuses to allow Gavin to use the boy’s restroom and locker facilities appropriate to his gender. Mark Joseph Stern in an article on Slate, points out that the misgendering of the plaintiff in the case reveals both the School Board’s and the conservative position in general, is not about protecting women and girls in restrooms from predators, but prima facie evidence that these groups don’t accept the plaintiff’s gender, plain and simple. And they have set that out in a very petty fashion with the misgendering of Gavin in their amicus briefs. When questioned by Stern, Liberty Counsel stated, “Gavin Grimm is a biological girl who now says she subjectively ‘identifies’ as a ‘boy.’ ”

Obviously, this single rebuke will not persuade these organizations to respect Grimm’s gender identity. But it does, I think, effectively disqualify these amicus briefs from serious consideration. By misgendering Grimm, these briefs clearly reflect the kind of animus that moved the school board to bar Grimm from the correct bathroom in the first place. The briefs reject the very validity of Grimm’s identity in a manner that is both offensive and petty. Indeed, these organizations are so eager to deny Grimm this basic dignity that they intentionally flouted the rules of the Supreme Court of the United States. It is difficult to imagine a justice citing anything these groups’ briefs say—even those who vote against Grimm. Liberty Counsel, NOM, and the CCJ have given the game away, revealing that while they claim to care about bathroom predators, they are really attempting to repudiate trans people’s identity.

And to think—they might’ve convinced a few justices to cite their bigoted illogic if they had only put aside their animus for a moment and followed the rules of the court.

– Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

The facts for this story are from Slate. One of the letters from the Clerk of the Court is here. The main photo is from transgenderuniverse.com.

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