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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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