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Supreme Court hears case on transgender care in Tennessee
Supreme Court hears case on transgender care in Tennessee

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to review a lawsuit challenging a Tennessee state law that bans hormone therapy and puberty blockers for children under 18.

It is the first time that the Supreme Court’s current nine justices have had the opportunity to weigh in on what has become a hot political issue across the United States.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, similar laws exist in 25 U.S. states, but some have been put on hold by lawsuits.

Three transgender teenagers from Tennessee, their parents and a doctor who cares for transgender patients claim that Tennessee’s 2023 ban violates equal treatment under the law guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution by discriminating on the basis of sex.

The Biden administration and a number of major U.S. medical companies have joined their side in this case.

They claim the law prohibits transgender people from accessing medications and therapies available to other youth with medical needs. They also argue that the ban violates parents’ right to access necessary care for their children.”

U.S. Attorney General Elizabeth Prelogar, the Biden administration’s top lawyer before the Supreme Court, told the justices in a brief filed last year that Tennessee state law and similar laws “cause grave harm to transgender youth and their families” by denying them “appropriate and necessary” treatment for a serious medical condition.

She argued that there was uncertainty about the legality of bans on transgender care and that the Supreme Court should intervene to settle the dispute.

Attorneys for the state of Tennessee respond that the transgender law reflects the will of the state’s elected representatives and addresses a pressing public concern.

“Tennessee, like many other states, has taken steps to ensure that minors do not receive these treatments until they fully understand the lifelong consequences or until the science has advanced to the point where Tennessee may view their effectiveness differently,” the state wrote in a brief filed with the Supreme Court.

Earlier this year, Supreme Court justices enacted a ban on transgender health care in Idaho, but did not comment on the constitutionality of the law.

In 2020, a six-justice majority on the court ruled that federal law prohibits discrimination against transgender workers. One of those justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has since been replaced by Amy Coney Barrett, a more conservative nominee of Donald Trump.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in the case, United States v. Skrmetti, this fall and issue a decision sometime next year.

By Liam