Fact Check: What Did SCOTUS Really Say About Transgender Hiring and Firing?
(RightWing.org) – On the first Monday of October of each year, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) begins a new session. During this time, they hear oral arguments on matters and occasionally render decisions along the way. However, it’s not until June of the following year that they release their findings on many of the major cases before them.
Most court-watchers assumed that issues split along ideological lines would break the conservative direction with President Trump’s appointments of Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch. Sometimes the old adage about assumptions really rings true.
- SCOTUS handed down a ruling in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County that many are hailing as a major victory for LGBTQ rights. The question came in front of the justices after both the district and circuit courts ruled against the plaintiff, Gerald Bostock.
- Bostock was an employee of the county, where he enjoyed positive employment reviews. At some point, he decided to join a gay softball league, his participation was common knowledge at work.
- His supervisors then announced they were going to be conducting an “audit” of the programs he was involved in. Not long afterward, he was terminated from his position for “conduct unbecoming of employees.” He filed a pro se lawsuit — without the assistance of an attorney — claiming this was a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- In a 6-3 split, SCOTUS sided with Bostock and overturned the two lower courts. The four Liberal members of the panel were joined by Justice Gorsuch, who wrote the opinion and the purportedly-conservative Chief Justice John Roberts in ruling that the term “sex” of the legislation included homosexuals and transgenders.
- Justice Samuel Alito wrote a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas in which they took the majority to task for essentially rewriting the law, which is the purview of the legislative and executive branches, not the judicial branch. Justice Kavanagh authored his own dissent, pointing out that Congress did not include sexual orientation as a protected class. It’s also worth noting the legislature has advanced numerous other civil rights laws and has never added them.
What This All Means
Even though some are decrying this as a case of blatant judicial activism, it’s still the law of the land. In general, if an employer should become aware of a person’s self-proclaimed sexual identity, they can neither fire them nor refuse to hire them in the first place, absent other cause.
However, it does not appear the ruling has any impact on religious organizations, at least at this time. Legal experts for Christian groups have reviewed the ruling and they say nothing within it addresses the broad exemptions provided for in the original 1964 act, nor any previous high court rulings that have upheld them.
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