Photo by Torsten Dederichs on Unsplash
Republican legislatures in 20 states have banned the use of irreversible gender-changing procedures on children, overcoming the governor’s veto in a handful of those states. But in six of the 20 states, liberal federal judges blocked these good laws in response to lawsuits by liberal groups including the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center.
Thankfully, the first appellate decision brought welcome news. On July 8, the two fine appellate judges Jeffrey Sutton and Trump-appointed Amul Thapar delivered a setback to the transgender agenda by ruling to reinstate Tennessee’s new law against transgender operations on minor children. The margin was 2-1 on the Sixth Circuit appellate court, with a Democrat-aligned judge dissenting. Appeals also sprouted up with bad district court decisions in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, and Kentucky, where beneficial state laws were blocked by federal judges.
Tennessee’s new law prohibits “surgically removing, modifying, altering, or entering into tissues, cavities, or organs” of any person under the age of 18. It also bans “prescribing, administering, or dispensing any puberty blocker or hormone” to minor children.
Judge Sutton’s ruling is persuasive, and carries added weight due to his strong reputation as a “feeder” of clerks to the Supreme Court. Judge Sutton is notorious in some quarters for ruling against legal recognition of same-sex marriage in the case that was later overturned by the now-retired, left-leaning Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Judges Sutton and Thapar wisely wrote, “The State plainly has authority, in truth a responsibility, to look after the health and safety of its children. Tennessee could rationally take the side of caution before permitting irreversible medical treatments of its children.”
The court found it unlikely that the Supreme Court would create a new constitutional right to transgender operations, when no such right has existed in the Constitution for 235 years. The Sixth Circuit majority concluded as they reinstated the Tennessee law, “Life-tenured federal judges should be wary of removing a vexing and novel topic of medical debate from the ebbs and flows of democracy.”