9th Circuit Declines To Rehear Idaho Transgender Inmate Case, Sets Up Supreme Court Appeal

Feb 11, 2020

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected Idaho’s request to rehear a case that would force it to be the first state to pay for sex reassignment surgery through a court order.

In August, a panel of judges from the 9th Circuit said Idaho had violated Adree Edmo’s 8th Amendment rights by refusing to offer her sex reassignment surgery. Monday’s denial means their previous decision still stands.

[Go in-depth on Adree Edmo's case with our podcast LOCKED.]

Edmo is a transgender woman in an Idaho prison who suffers from gender dysphoria. It’s a condition that can cause extreme stress because the person is living in a body that doesn’t match their gender identity.

Several 9th Circuit judges rebuked the denial in a scathing opinion. They blasted the lower court’s decision to uphold a set of medical treatment standards set out by the World Professional Association of Transgender Health, which they called an advocacy group.

At the heart of the case was whether Edmo’s doctors have been deliberately indifferent to her care while incarcerated. But these judges say this is “a case of good-faith disagreement between medical professionals.”

“The temptation to stand at what we are told is society’s next frontier and to invent a constitutional right to state-funded sex-reassignment surgery does not justify the revision of previously universal principles of Eighth Amendment jurisprudence,” the judges wrote.

Gov. Brad Little (R) said he was disappointed that the 9th Circuit declined to rehear the case, but, “I am encouraged, however, that several judges recognized in dissenting opinions that the decision conflicts with decisions of multiple other circuits, goes well-beyond the Eighth Amendment’s text and original meaning, and is contrary to more than four decades of Supreme Court precedent.”

Little says he’s committed to appealing the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court – an effort he says is already underway.

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