Ninth Circuit Temporarily Blocks Idaho Restroom Ban as Court Challenge Proceeds

(Boise, ID, October 26, 2023) - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today temporarily blocked enforcement of an Idaho school facilities law that singles out transgender students for discriminatory treatment. The law was set to take effect November 2, 2023.

The Ninth Circuit granted a request for an injunction pending appeal that Lambda Legal filed shortly after the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho denied a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the law, Senate Bill 1100, while Lambda Legal pursues a challenge to the law. Lambda Legal, Munger Tolles & Olson LLP, and Alturas Law Group, PLLC, filed the challenge in July on behalf of a seventh-grade transgender student and Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA), an LGBTQ student organization at Boise High School.

"This ruling is a relief not only for our clients, but transgender students across Idaho, that they will be spared the indignity, stigma, and profound harm of this cruel and unconstitutional law as they go about their day at school," Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Peter Renn said. "School is a time to focus on studies and extracurriculars, not to stress about whether you will be able to use the restroom."

"The Ninth Circuit's order today, which prevents harm from being inflicted on transgender students while it considers our appeal, is a powerful reminder that the law protects students from this type of discrimination," said Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Kell Olson. "For years, transgender students have been able to use restrooms consistent with their gender at schools across Idaho for years without incident. This order will allow that inclusive practice to continue while we pursue our challenge."

The injunction stops the government from enforcing the law until the appellate court can review the ruling on Plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction, with the appeal set to be briefed over the coming months.

As of July 1, 2023, Senate Bill 1100 imposed a sweeping statewide mandate, governing all public and charter schools K-12, that schools must exclude transgender students from multi-user restrooms and other school facilities matching their gender identity, based on a legislative definition of "sex" as limited to chromosomes and reproductive anatomy. The law also allows students to recover a minimum of $5,000 per violation if they encounter a transgender person using a facility barred by the law. Today's order prevents schools from being forced to follow the statewide mandate as Lambda Legal's appeal proceeds.

The lawsuit, Roe v. Critchfield, was brought by Lambda Legal, Munger Tolles & Olson LLP, and Alturas Law Group, PLLC. The complaint charges that S.B. 1100 violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, by discriminating on the basis of sex and transgender status, and by outing students as transgender.

To Know Your Rights about Bathrooms and Locker Rooms:

Today's injunction pending appeal can be found here.

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and policy work.

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