An upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision involving transgender bathrooms will put Justice Anthony Kennedy’s reputation as a gay rights champion to the test, Professor David S. Cohen said in an article published online by NBC News on Nov. 13.
"Kennedy's a conservative of a very different generation than people advocating for the 'T' in LGBT, and I think he's going to be a difficult vote to get," Cohen said.
The article notes that Kennedy has affirmed gay rights in numerous rulings since 1996, most recently authoring majority opinions in cases the overturned anti-sodomy laws and the Defense of Marriage Act but upheld marriage equality. But less is known, Cohen said, about Kennedy’s views on transgender rights.
"Other than a little here and there around abortion, Kennedy has been very conservative on other gender cases and I think that could come through here," Cohen said.
The pending case involving transgender Virginia high school student Gavin Grimm, who seeks protection to use a school bathroom that corresponds to his gender identity, will say a lot about Kennedy in this regard, Cohen said.
"I think history will look poorly on this if Kennedy doesn't vote in favor of Grimm," he said.