West Virginia teams up with anti-LGBTQ group to go to SCOTUS to stop a 12-year-old trans runner
The Alliance Defending Freedom has been "a great partner" in defending West Virginia's anti-trans sports bill, the state's attorney general said Thursday.
On Thursday, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced that the state would be going to the U.S. Supreme Court to attempt to get the justices to allow it to enforce its sports ban for transgender girls as soon as possible.
Notably, the state is working hand-in-hand with the Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ extremist legal advocacy group that has been behind a significant amount of anti-LGBTQ litigation and legislation in recent years, to advance this cause.
The state’s Supreme Court announcement followed a Feb. 22 order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit enjoining enforcement of the law during the appeal at the Fourth Circuit.
Rather than simply allow the case to proceed at the appeals court, however, Morrisey announced that West Virginia was going to go to the Supreme Court before the appeal is heard on the merits at the Fourth Circuit.
“We think it’s critical that we get to the high court as soon as possible,” he said at Thursday’s news conference.
Before Morrisey even got into discussing the case, however, he heaped praise on ADF.
“I also want to identify up front, Rachel Csutoros from the Alliance Defending Freedom,” Morrisey said. “They’ve been a great partner in this effort, and they’ve helped us tremendously in the defense of this statute and [in] the representation of Lainey Armistead, who was a female college soccer player at West Virginia State University, and she intervened in this case.” He went on to thank Csutoros for attending the event.
The aggressively public partnership with ADF is notable, particularly given this past week’s stories and leaked emails about the behind-the-scenes coordination of anti-trans legislation over recent years, emails that include ADF staff and ADF-affiliated lawyers.
In fact, ADF got second billing at the event, with Csutoros speaking at the state’s news conference about the high court filing.
“This is a historic moment for all female athletes,” she said of the effort to keep a 12-year-old trans girl from running on her school’s cross-country team. In her statement, Csutoros advanced eliminationist anti-trans language, saying that “activists have rejected reality” by seeking to respect trans students’ gender identity.
Here is what is actually at issue in this lawsuit, as discussed in the plaintiff’s filing challenging the law:
And yet now, taking advantage of a 6-3 conservative Supreme Court that has shown a willingness to ignore — or reverse — precedent, West Virginia and ADF are literally filing a shadow docket application together at the U.S. Supreme Court by claiming that they are facing an emergency that requires immediate relief from the high court.
As University of Texas Law professor Steve Vladeck, who tweeted a copy of the filing on Friday, put it on Twitter, “This case is a good illustration of how #SCOTUS’s recent use of the shadow docket has totally watered down our concept of ‘emergencies.’ The only ‘emergency’ here is that a state law is presently subject to an injunction pending appeal.”
And yet, Morrisey and Csutoros believe that the current Supreme Court will give them the opportunity to litigate this case on the shadow docket and without argument at the Supreme Court. Both lawyers made reference to expectations that they will be getting further support in this shadow docket effort.
“Our office has talked to various states around the country — Arkansas and Alabama and others,” Morrisey said. “I think we’re going to have a lot of support from states across America.”
Csutoros, for her part, said that she expected support from “61 female athletes from across the country,” a clear reference to a forthcoming amici brief.
The filing is not yet showing on the Supreme Court’s docket, but expect more on this matter in the coming days.
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