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U.S. Supreme Court Sets March 28 to Weigh School Transgender-Rights Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has set March 28 as the date it will hear arguments in the major case over transgender rights in school and U.S. Department of Education authority to interpret its own regulations.

The justices will hear one hour of arguments on that Tuesday in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. (Case No. 16-273), which stems from efforts by a transgender boy, Gavin Grimm, to use the boys' restroom at his Virginia high school. 

The high court granted review in the case in late October after getting involved last summer by granting the Gloucester County school district a stay of lower court orders that would have required it to allow Grimm to use the restroom corresponding to his gender identity.

The election of Donald Trump may yet have an impact in the case. A key legal question is whether the Education Department is owed deference for an informal interpretation of a 1975 regulation under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The federal statute bars discrimination based on sex in federally funded schools, and the Obama administration's Education Department interpreted the 1975 regulation to require schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity.

The federal government faces a deadline at the end of February for filing a brief expressing its position in the case. The Obama administration supported Grimm in a federal appeals court. But there is widespread speculation that the Trump administration may withdraw the transgender guidance or assert a position in the Supreme Court that differs from that of the previous administration.

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