A federal judge in Alabama denied the Biden administration’s request to pause a lawsuit challenging the state’s transgender care ban while other courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, consider similar challenges in other states.
In his opinion, U.S. District Judge Liles Burke wrote a stay “may indeed be the most efficient way to proceed in this case, but not unless a higher court signals that it will decide the governing standard of review.”
The Justice Department asked for the pause because “this exceptional legal landscape is quickly evolving,” citing a request for the Supreme Court to block Tennessee’s ban on gender-affirming care, as well as a request for the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to hear arguments on Alabama’s ban.
Burke wrote that if either court agrees to hear its respective case, then a stay “may well be appropriate. But as long as those petitions remain pending, this case will move forward.”
In November, three Tennessee families with transgender children and a doctor asked the Supreme Court to step in to prevent the state from enforcing a law that prevents transgender minors from accessing gender-affirming health care.
The families of transgender children in Alabama asked the entire 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in September to review a three-judge panel’s decision that allowed the state’s ban on gender-affirming care to take effect.
Alabama’s 2022 law makes it a felony — punishable by up to 10 years in prison — for doctors to provide puberty blockers or hormone replacement therapy to transgender people younger than 19.
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