On December 30, 2022, a federal circuit court of appeals broke from the decisions from other circuits and held that separating the use of male and female bathrooms on the basis of biological sex does not violate the United States Constitution or Title IX. In Adams v. School Board of St. Johns County, Florida, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (covering Alabama, Florida, and Georgia) upheld what the court described as “the unremarkable — and nearly universal — practice of separating school bathrooms based on biological sex.” The ruling upheld a school district’s decision to deny a request from a transgender male to access the boys’ restroom.
The Adams decision directly conflicts with guidance from the Office of Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education, as well as decisions from the Fourth Circuit (covering Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia) and the Seventh Circuit (covering Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin). The decision also conflicts with a decision from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, which has jurisdiction over portions of Ohio. The guidance and those decisions have concluded that transgender students may access the bathrooms of their choice.
Based on the split among the circuits, the Supreme Court of the United States may decide to consider the case and settle the issue definitively. In the interim, clients are encouraged to contact the attorneys at Ennis Britton for consultation.
A copy of the decision can be found here.