Supreme Court Clears Way For Transgender Inmate’s Lawsuit To Continue Against Men’s Prison

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Mia Hernandez Contributor
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The Supreme Court is letting a lower court order stand in the lawsuit filed by transgender woman, Kesha Williams, who allegedly suffers from gender dysphoria and is claiming that a Virginia men’s jail violated a federal law and discriminated against Williams based on disability.

Williams was held in jail in Fairfax County, Virginia, for six months and has claimed that the treatment from the facility violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other laws due to delays in medical treatment for gender dysphoria and other inmates harassing Williams, CNN reported. A prison official who was named in the lawsuit attempted to have it appealed, but it was declined by the high court. (RELATED: Dem-Appointed Judge Opens The Door To More Men Being Housed In Women’s Prisons)

Williams was originally held in the women’s facility before being transferred to the men’s.

Initially a lower federal court dismissed the lawsuit but an appeals court sided with Williams, according to CNN.

Conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas publicly dissented from the court’s decision to not take up the case, CNN reported.

“In short, the Fourth Circuit’s ruling leaves a great many people and institutions under the looming threat of liability, forcing them to change their behavior – behavior that may be deeply rooted in moral or religious principles – or face an unending stream of lawsuits,” Alito wrote in a joint dissent with Thomas.

An activist holds a sign calling for federal protections of transgender rights, in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on April 1, 2023. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

The ADA gives the guidelines of who is protected from discrimination from programs receiving federal financial assistance, including those who experience gender dysphoria, but explicitly excludes “gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments.”

A panel of the Fourth U.S. Court of Appeals said the ADA applies to Williams’ case in its majority ruling.

“In light of the ‘basic promise of equality … that animates the ADA,’ we see no legitimate reason why Congress would intend to exclude from the ADA’s protections transgender people who suffer from gender dysphoria,” the court found.

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