If you ask me, where courtrooms and the notion of transgenderism are concerned, we’ve got some interesting things ahead.
On Saturday, America continued its path in sorting out sex, self-identity, and sports as a judge dropped the hammer: Attorneys can’t call a male a male if he says he’s not.
As I covered in February, teen female athletes Alanna Smith, Selina Soule, and Chelsea Mitchell filed suit against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which allows guys to run with gals in track meets if they so identify.
Christiana Holcomb — one of the group’s lawyers — elaborated:
“The policy in Connecticut doesn’t even require any sort of treatment or therapy or whatever to compete in the girls category. They can do so without limitation.“
Fast-forward to this past weekend, when litigating attorneys called for the presiding judge to recuse himself.
And why? Well, as per the transcript of an April 16th conference call between involved parties, District Judge Robert Chatigny told legal reps from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to stop being so provocative:
“Let me raise a point that undoubtedly will cause some consternation for you, Mr. (Roger) Brooks (lead ADF attorney representing the Plaintiffs), and your colleagues, but I exercise my prerogative as the presiding judge in this instance and I hope you will forgive me.”
Here we go:
“I don’t think we should be referring to the proposed intervenors as ‘male athletes.’ I understand that you prefer to use those words, but they’re very provocative and, I think, needlessly so. I don’t think that you surrender any legitimate interest or position if you refer to them as transgender females. That is what the case is about. This isn’t a case involving males who have decided that they want to run in girls’ events. This is a case about girls who say that transgender girls should not be allowed to run in girls’ events.”
“So going forward, we will not refer to the proposed intervenors as ‘males;’ understood?”
The Daily Wire reports Roger “was not allowed to respond to the judge until he told him he ‘understood’ what he was saying.”
Afterward, he asserted the following:
“The entire focus of the case has to do with the fact that male bodies have a physiological advantage over female bodies that gives them an unfair advantage to competition. The entire focus of the case is the fact that the CIAC policy allows individuals who are physiologically, genetically male to compete in girls’ athletics.”
Roger said they were “happy” to use the guys’ names rather than a reference to their sex, clarifying that the “names are not the point to the case,” and neither is “gender identity.”
“The point of this case is physiology of bodies driven by chromosomes and the documented athletic advantage that comes from a male body, male hormones, and male puberty in particular.”
But the judge wasn’t buyin’ it. He laid down the law on science and civility, with a dash of decency:
“What I’m saying is you must refer to them as ‘transgender females’ rather than as ‘males.’ Again, that’s the more accurate terminology, and I think that it fully protects your client’s legitimate interests. Referring to these individuals as ‘transgender females’ is consistent with science, common practice and perhaps human decency. To refer to them as ‘males,’ period, is not accurate, certainly not as accurate, and I think it’s needlessly provocative; and, for me, civility is a very important value, especially in litigation.”
Here’s more from TDW:
[Judge Robert] then argued that ADF might have to “take an application to the Court of Appeals” if they won’t comply with his order, since, he said, he doesn’t want to “bully” them into his order, but he also doesn’t want ADF “bullying anybody else,” referring to the transgender athletes. (Brooks later reiterated during the call that they’ve never accused any of the transgender athletes of wrongdoing of any kind, only following the implemented policy, which ADF objects to.)
The anti-bullying judge continued:
“So if you feel strongly that you and your clients have a right to refer to these individuals as ‘males’ and that you therefore do not want to comply with my order, then that’s unfortunate. But I’ll give you some time to think about it, and you can let me know if it’s a problem. If it is, gosh, maybe we’ll need to do something. I don’t want to bully you, but at the same time, I don’t want you to be bullying anybody else. Maybe you might need to take an application to the Court of Appeals. I don’t know. But I certainly don’t want to put civility at risk in this case.”
All finally settled on a compromise: The term “transgender athlete” would be used.
On Monday, National Review noted the girls’ attorneys’ motion for Judge Robert to step away. Here’s how the ADF put it:
A disinterested observer would reasonably believe that the Court’s order and comments have destroyed the appearance of impartiality in this proceeding. That requires recusal. To be sure, the public debate over gender identity and sports is a heated and emotional one. This only increases the urgency that court preserve their role as the singular place in society where all can be heard and present facts before an impartial tribunal.”
Personally, I don’t see how lawyers can very well argue their case before an impartial judge that boys should not be allowed to compete as girls, if they’re disallowed from saying they’re boys and pushed by the judge toward saying they’re (transgender) girls. But I’m no attorney.
Either way, the dustup is just one example of how tangled the situation has become. People can’t even agree on what is what, so how can they figure out where who should be, and when and how?
It’s gonna be a long road, indeed.
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