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Judge allows transgender suit to proceed

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A transgender former high school student who was barred from his senior prom in Gary because he was wearing a pink dress for the occasion will have his day in court.

U.S. District Judge Joe Van Bokkelen issued a 10-page order late Thursday that denied the school corporation's motion to dismiss the case of Kevin Logan v. Gary Community School Corp., et al., No. 2:07-CV-431.

The case involves a prom dress-code incident in May 2006, where a school principal blocked Logan - who goes by "K.K." - from entering the school event because of what he was wearing, even though a female student wearing a tuxedo was allowed to enter.

While in school, Logan was known to wear clothes typically associated with girls his age. But the principal cited a school policy for the entry denial, and Logan eventually filed suit in the Northern District.

The northern Indiana school district filed a motion to dismiss in February, arguing the court didn't have jurisdiction to hear Logan's case on the grounds that federal law doesn't dictate local school dress codes, especially when constitutional rights haven't been violated.

But in his ruling, Judge Van Bokkelen is clear the federal court has jurisdiction in rejecting each of the school's arguments: that the separation of powers doctrine doesn't preclude his court from hearing the case; that the issue isn't moot despite Logan's status as a former student because it's a facial challenge to a rule under the First Amendment; and that the school officials aren't immune under the 11th Amendment because they aren't arms of the state.

Judge Van Bokkelen found that the First Amendment issues and the Title IX claims on why Logan was excluded from the prom - because of sexual orientation or dress code - need further development and it would be premature to dismiss the case now. He explicitly rejected the school's argument that "it is high time the Federal Court" stopped interfering with school administration, citing caselaw that shows federal courts do have the authority to review school decisions even though they often defer to local school leaders in establishing policy.

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  1. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  2. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  3. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  4. I totally agree with John Smith.

  5. An idea that would harm the public good which is protected by licensing. Might as well abolish doctor and health care professions licensing too. Ridiculous. Unrealistic. Would open the floodgates of mischief and abuse. Even veteranarians are licensed. How has deregulation served the public good in banking, for example? Enough ideology already!

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