WASHINGTON D.C. — (04-06-23) — The U.S. Supreme Court voted to allow a 12-year-old transgender girl in West Virginia to continue competing on her middle school’s girls sports teams while a lawsuit over a state ban continues. Justices Alito and Thomas of course, were the dissenters.

In a shock to right wing conservatives, the U.S Supreme Court rejected on Thursday, West Virginia’ bid to enforce its sports ban against transgender students. This ruling backs a lower court’s ruling that had prevented the state from enforcing a law against 12-year-old Becky Pepper-Jackson.

Two of the court’s conservative justices, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, said that they would have granted the application in favor of West Virginia. Justice Alito wrote in his dissent opinion, that he faults a lower court’s ruling for failing to explain its reasoning.

In barring transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports at the middle school, high school and college levels, the law says gender is “based solely on the individual’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.” As such, it says, a female is a person “whose biological sex determined at birth as female.”

The law was challenged by Pepper-Jackson, then 11, who wanted to try out for the cross country and track teams in her middle school in Harrison County. She was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the LGBTQ group Lambda Legal.

Her lawyers said the law violated the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which requires that the law apply equally to everyone, as well as Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in education.

A federal judge initially ruled in Pepper-Jackson’s favor but concluded in January that the law was most likely legal and allowed it to be enforced against her.

That’s when Pepper-Jackson appealed, and last month the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals again blocked the state from applying it’s anti-Transgender law.

West Virginia’s lawyers said in court papers that if the law is not applied to Pepper-Jackson, “sex-separated sports as they are traditionally understood will be functionally illegal in West Virginia public schools and universities.”

The West Virginia law was backed by the conservative religious legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, and is just one of a series of measures Republican states are doing to attack the LGBTQ community.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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