SCOTUS Sharply Divided Over the Meaning of 'Sex'

Justices heard oral arguments in LGBT job discrimination cases
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 8, 2019 2:47 PM CDT
A Human Rights Campaign supporter takes part in a rally outside the Supreme Court during oral arguments on non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ workers on Tuesday Oct.12, 2019 in Washington.   (Kevin Wolf/AP Images for Human Rights Campaign)
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(Newser) – We won't know the outcome until summer 2020, and the hints that came out of the Supreme Court on Tuesday weren't very revealing ones. The major question it's weighing: Does the Civil Rights Act of 1964 cover LGBT people when it comes to discrimination in employment? The divisions that emerged were sharp. The AP reports the court's four liberal justices are expected to come down on the side of the workers who were fired due to their sexual orientation or transgender status. But will a conservative justice join them? The standout things to know:

  • The three cases involve a skydiving instructor from New York and a county government worker in Georgia who were fired for being gay and a fired transgender funeral home director from Michigan. There are 28 states that offer little or no workplace protections for LGBT people.
  • USA Today sets the stage: "Rather than claiming a constitutional right to equal treatment, the challengers must convince at least five justices that the word 'sex' in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 incorporates sexual orientation and gender identity."
  • It, along with other outlets like CNBC, have this takeaway after two hours of oral arguments: It will likely come down to President Trump's two nominees: Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Justice Neil Gorsuch. In Vox's view, Gorsuch emerged as the likeliest swing vote.

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