The Volokh Conspiracy

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SCOTUS Grants SG's Petition in Transgender-Minor Case

The Court did not grant petitions from the ACLU and Jenner Block. Will the Trump DOJ switch positions in January 2025?


Way back in November 2023, three cert petitions were filed in cases challenging laws which regulated medical treatment for transgender minors. Two were filed in Skrmetti, the Tenessee case, by the Biden Justice Department and the ACLU. One was filed in the Kentucky case by Jenner Block.

These cases lingered in docket purgatory. John Elwood provides the breakdown:

(rescheduled before the Mar. 15, Mar. 22, Mar. 28, Apr. 12, Apr. 19, Apr. 26 and May 9 conferences; relisted after the May 16, May 23, May 30, June 6 and June 13 conferences)

Seven reschedules and five relists! Usually a case with this record is destined for a cert denial, coupled with a dissent from denial of cert.

But here, after three months of docket purgatory, we get a grant. But not a grant in all three cases. There is only a grant in the DOJ case. The Court is (presumably) holding the other two petitions.

This case will likely be argued in November 2024 or so—before or shortly after the election. But a decision probably would not come until June 2025. Will the Trump Justice Department switch positions after the inauguration, and dismiss the petition? If so, the Court could dodge the issue altogether. Had the Court granted the petitions from the ACLU and Jenner Block, the controversies would have remained regardless of what happens with the election. But by granting only the DOJ petition, the Court has limited the case. Maybe that's what led the Court to only grant the SG's petition.

This outcome would be like another Grimm case where an important issue goes unresolved for years on end with a change in administrations.