On the eve of the election we are taking at look at some of the things that will impact the transgender community in the 2016 vote.
- The Supreme Court
The winner of the 2016 Presidential Race will decide who is nominated for the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. What makes this decision important is the fact that the court is due to hear the case of The Gloucester County School Board v Gavin Grimm. The case will ultimately decide whether Gavin Grimm, a transgender male student, has the right to use the restroom that corresponds with his gender identity in accordance with Title IX, which protects students from discrimination based on sex. This case will determine whether gender identity is included under Title IX and the decision will impact all students in the United States. On the surface, the court appears divided 4-4, and the ninth justice who is chosen could be the deciding person. The decision will most likely impact all future cases regarding transgender rights.
- The Future of HB2
On Tuesday we will see how North Carolina feels about HB2 as incumbent Governor Pat McCrory, who signed the law which forces North Carolina residents to use the restroom and facilities that correspond with their birth certificate, is running against Democratic challenger Attorney General Roy Cooper. The outcome could be a mandate regarding how the state feels about the law and could determine its future. The latest polls have the race within the margin of error, with Cooper averaging a 2% lead going into Tuesday.
- Transgender Candidates
Misty Snow is running for Utah’s U.S. Senate seat against Republican incumbent Mike Lee. If Snow wins, she would become the first transgender Senator in the United States. The latest polls indicate Lee has a lead by over 30 points.
Musty Plowright is running against Republican incumbent Doug Lamborn for Colorado’s 5th U.S. Congressional seat. If Plowright wins, she would become the first transgender member of the United States Congress. There are currently no available polls for the district, however we know Plowright faces a tough battle as Lamborn has more money and resources.
- The Lower Courts
In Addition to the Supreme Court vacancy, over 10% of the federal district court benches are vacant. The next President of the United States will fill these seats. Most cases are heard in the lower courts and never reach the highest court in the land. The lower courts will have impact on smaller cases regarding transgender issues. Whoever is President will have an easier time with lower court nominations because of a 2013 rule adopted by the Senate called the “Nuclear Option”. It was put in place to prevent filibustering of nominees while only requiring a majority vote instead of the usual 60.
- The Balance of Power in The Senate and the House
Only 35% of Americans feel that people should be forced to use the restrooms and facilities according to the gender they were assigned at birth and not according to their gender identity. 53% say they should be allowed to use the facilities that match their gender identity. Our U.S Congress and Senate currently doesn’t agree with the majority as they have been unable to pass any bills protecting the rights of transgender citizens. The last version of The Employment Non-Discrimination Act was so watered down with religious protections that most human rights groups soured on it. We will be looking to see if some of the opponents of transgender rights are voted out in not only the U.S House and Senate, but in the states as well.
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