Historic City News was informed that the St Johns County School District won a 7-4 split decision in federal appeals court on Friday, almost certainly opening the door for an appearance before the United States Supreme Court over a policy that separates school bathrooms by biological sex.
Drew Adams, a biological female, sued the District in 2017 after being denied permission to use the boy’s restroom. In 2020, a three-judge panel from the appeals court sided with the plaintiff; however, in 2022, the full 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided to take up the case. The court’s decision was split down party lines, with seven justices appointed by Republican presidents siding with the school district and four justices appointed by Democratic presidents siding with Adams.
“The school board policy advances the important governmental objective of protecting students’ privacy in school bathrooms,” wrote Judge Barbara Lagoa in the majority opinion. “The district’s policy does not violate the law because it’s based on biological sex, not gender identity.”
Two other federal appeals courts have ruled that transgender students can use bathrooms that agree with their own sexual identities. Judge Jill Pryor wrote in a dissenting opinion that the interest of protecting privacy is not absolute and must coexist alongside fundamental principles of equality, specifically where exclusion implies inferiority.
As it stands today, the ruling establishes that the St Johns County School Board did not discriminate against transgender students based on their sex, nor did they violate federal civil rights law by requiring transgender students to use gender-neutral bathrooms or bathrooms matching their biological sex.
“This is an aberrant ruling that contradicts the rulings of every other circuit to consider the question across the country,” Tara Borelli, a spokesperson for LGBT advocacy group Lambda Legal, told Fox News Digital in a statement. The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to the information shared in this report.
Lambda Legal, who provided legal aid to Adams, reported in a statement that Friday’s decision increases the likelihood that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue. “We will be reviewing and evaluating this lengthy and distressing decision over the weekend and will have a fuller response next week.”