BREAKING: Supreme Court rules West Virginia trans athletes can compete on women's teams

The law was brought to the Supreme Court by WV AG Patrick Morrisey, who was backed by 21 other attorneys general across the US.

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
West Virginia's move to protect women's sports from the incursion of male athletes was struck down on Thursday. This came after the law preventing males from playing on women's sports teams was challeged, and a court in the state determined that it could not be enforced.

The law was brought to the Supreme Court by WV AG Patrick Morrisey, who was backed by 21 other attorneys general across the US. The state filed an emergency request for the court to lift the injuction of an appeal's court that ruled that males should be permitted to play on women's sports teams.

The justices said that since they were likely to have to hear a case on this matter in the near future, they ought not issue an emergency ruling in it soon.

A dissenting statement came from Justices Alito and Thomas, who said that the case "concerns an important issue that this Court is likely to be required to address in the near future." 

Alito further said that he would "would grant the State’s application. Among other things, enforcement of the law at issue should not be forbidden by the federal courts without any explanation." 

As a result, a trans-identified middle school boy will be permitted to compete on the girls' team. The suit brought by the ACLU claimed that harm must be proven before boys would be barred from competing against girls. Further, the case cited Title IX, claiming it acts in favor of boys who claim to be girls being treated as girls, with all the rights and legal protections thereto.

When asked about the ban on boys playing in girls sex-segregated athletic competitions, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice did not specify instances where boys had exhibited an unfair advantage in his state. However, in so many sports, males have been taking women's prizes and awards by virtue of their larger bodies, greater testosterone levels, and other physical advantages men have over women.

West Virginia is one of several states that have tried to protect women's sports and allow women to compete on a fair playing field that is not littered with male achievement.

It was the ACLU that brought suit against West Virginia on behalf of those boys who believe their belief that they are female entitles them to female spaces, awards, and sports. The case centers on a trans-identified boy called Becky Pepper-Jackson, who is 12 years old.

Reportedly, the boy wanted to compete on the girls team. A federal judge allowed this, before reversing his opinion in January. District Court Judge Joseph Goodwin said that the ban against boys competing in girls' sports was "constitutionally permissible" because the state had defined the words woman and girl with regard to the "important government interest of providing equal athletic opportunities for females."

Attorneys for the trans-identified 12-year-old appealed, and the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the ban against boys competing in girls' sports from taking effect.

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