The "status quo" will be preserved, for now, and Gavin Grimm will no longer be able to use the boys' bathroom at a Virginia high school in Gloucster County. Grimm, who is a transgender male, won his case at the lower level, but the Supreme Court agreed to temporarily block the order on Wednesday.
The block needed five votes, one of which came from Justice Stephen Breyer. Breyer said that he concurred to "preserve the status quo" until there's a chance to consider a petition for cert. "I vote to grant the application as a courtesy," he wrote.
The order is "something of a surprise given the composition of the court," said CNN contributor Steve Vladeck.
Breyer has voted in line before with Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who voted to let the lower court's decision stand.
"In the short term, this means the relationship between transgender identity and sex discrimination will be left in limbo until the Supreme Court resolves it one way or the other. But given that Justice Breyer's vote was only a courtesy, it's hard to see the court being able to settle this matter until a ninth justice is appointed," Vladeck said.
Joshua Block with ACLU said that "no irreparable harm will occur" if Grimm is allowed to use the boys' bathroom. He also fears Grimm being "isolated from his peers and stigmatized" for another year while the court considers whether to grant cert. Some parents had complained about Grimm using the boys' bathroom, prompting the school's policy requiring students to use the bathrooms corresponding to their biological sex.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights called the decision "disappointing," but still finds hope in Breyer's vote.
"Especially in light of Justice Breyer's statement that his vote for a stay was a mere 'courtesy' to preserve the status quo while the court considers whether to review the decision, this should not be taken as any sign of where a majority of the court is leaning on the substantive question of whether Title IX protects transgender students," they said.
The district's brief statement was pleased with the decision. "The school board welcomes the Supreme Court's decision as the new school year approaches. The board continues to believe that its resolution of this complex matter fully considered the interests of all students and parents in the Gloucester County school system," it said.