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Federal judge grants injunction to stop Idaho law banning trans student athletes

U.S. District Judge David Nye agreed to put the brakes on Idaho’s HB500 law that bans trans girls and women from competing with cisgender athletes.

David Nye Idaho Federal Judge
U.S. District Judge David Nye
U.S. District Court, Idaho

UPDATE, August 18: Federal Judge David Nye granted an injunction to halt HB500, the Idaho law that banned transgender student athletes from competing.

Lawyers for plaintiff Lindsay Hecox from the American Civil Liberties Union shared Judge Nye’s ruling online:

“The Court recognizes that this decision is likely to be controversial. While the citizens of Idaho are likely to either vehemently oppose, or fervently support, the Act, the Constitution must always prevail. It is the Court’s role—as part of the third branch of government—to interpret the law. At this juncture, that means looking at the Act, as enacted by the Idaho Legislature, and determining if it may violate the Constitution. In making this determination, it is not just the constitutional rights of transgender girls and women athletes at issue but, as explained above, the constitutional rights of every girl and woman athlete in Idaho. Because the Court finds Plaintiffs are likely to succeed in establishing the Act is unconstitutional as currently written, it must issue a preliminary injunction at this time pending trial on the merits.”

Click here to read Judge Nye’s decision.

This is a developing story. We’ll have more information on outsports.com

ORIGINAL STORY: A federal judge in Boise, Idaho, has not yet delivered on his promise to determine by August 10 what happens to a controversial new law in that state that bans trans girls and women from competing with cisgender female athletes.

It’s known as HB500 by its opponents, and The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act by its supporters. Since late July its fate has been in the hands of U.S. District Judge David Nye.

Judge Nye first sat on the bench on August 1, 2017, after having been nominated by both President Barack Obama in April 2016, and then by President Donald Trump. His nomination was stalled in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate for unknown reasons.

On July 22, Nye announced that he would decide by today whether to grant an injunction filed by opponents of the law, or to dismiss their lawsuit, as attorneys for the state have requested.

It also happened to be the day athletes participating in fall sports at Idaho high schools were to begin their preseason practices, but according to an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, at least one public high school district — Boise — has postponed that one week. The ACLU notified Judge Nye of that decision, and that may be one explanation for the delay in the judge’s ruling.

Allowing the lawsuit to be proceed and approving an injunction would mean trans athletes like Lindsey Hecox would be permitted to compete on the cross country team at Boise State University next month, and other fall sports. Hecox is a plaintiff in the case and is represented by an ACLU-led coalition.

The attorneys representing the state of Idaho are working with the Alliance Defending Freedom — a Christian law firm labeled an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. They cited both legal precedent and federal support for the law as reasons to dismiss the lawsuit. Such federal support includes the actions by the Trump Administration and U.S. Attorney General William Barr and the Dept. of Justice.

Either way, the judge’s decision could have a wide impact, from deliberations by the NCAA Board of Governors who are considering a boycott of Idaho next March, to Connecticut, where another federal lawsuit over trans student athletes is proceeding and the governor is considering next steps in the face of threatened cuts to federal education aid, because Connecticut has allowed trans girls and women to compete in scholastic sports since 2013.

This is a developing story, so bookmark this page. We’ll update the story after a decision is announced.