The judge in that Connecticut transgender athlete case needs to go

We’ve been covering for some time now the ongoing lawsuit in Connecticut brought by the families of several female athletes who were shut out of track and field competitions by transgender athletes who dominated the sport for two seasons. You can read a heartwrenching plea for fairness from one of the mothers here. Well, the case has finally begun, but it’s definitely off to a rocky start. As reported at National Review, attorneys for the plaintiffs have already moved to have the judge in the case recuse himself. The reason is the obvious bias on display from the bench when the judge forbade the plaintiffs’ attorneys from describing the transgender athletes as males or boys.

Attorneys representing three female high school track athletes in their effort to bar biological males from competing against them filed a motion on Saturday calling for the presiding judge to recuse himself after he forbid the attorneys from referring to the transgender athletes at issue as “males.”

The ADF filed suit in February against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) on behalf of three girls — Selina Soule, Alana Smith, and Chelsea Mitchell. The suit challenges the CIAC policy allowing students to compete in the division that accords with their gender identity on the grounds that it disadvantages women in violation of the Title IX prohibition against discrimination on the “basis of sex.”

During an April 16 conference call, District Judge Robert Chatigny chastised the ADF attorneys for referring to the male athletes seeking to compete in the women’s division as “males,” according to a transcript of the call obtained by National Review.

The judge is pretending that such prohibitions won’t have any impact on the outcome of the hearings, which seems farcical on its face. Beyond demonstrating that he’s apparently completely in the tank on the side of the CIAC and against the plaintiffs, the judge is also exhibiting the usual refusal to recognize established medical science (and reality) as is so often seen in these debates. Check out the highlighted portion of the judge’s admonition to the plaintiffs’ attorneys below.

What I’m saying is you must refer to them as “transgender females” rather than as “males.” Again, that’s the more accurate terminology, and I think that it fully protects your client’s legitimate interests. Referring to these individuals as “transgender females” is consistent with science, common practice and perhaps human decency. To refer to them as “males,” period, is not accurate, certainly not as accurate, and I think it’s needlessly provocative. I don’t think that you surrender any legitimate interest or position if you refer to them as transgender females. That is what the case is about. This isn’t a case involving males who have decided that they want to run in girls’ events. This is a case about girls who say that transgender girls should not be allowed to run in girls’ events. So going forward, we will not refer to the proposed intervenors as “males”; understood?

The ADF attorney representing the girls’ families attempted (probably in vain) to explain the science behind the language being used to the judge. He spoke of the “physiology of bodies driven by chromosomes and the documented athletic advantage that comes from a male body, male hormones, and male puberty in particular.” He went on to point out that the entire basis of the case rested on the question of whether or not biological males should be allowed to compete against girls. In that regard, being forced to refer to the transgender athletes as “females” in any fashion undermines the plaintiffs’ case and doesn’t allow for providing them with the most robust representation possible.

The judge managed to ignore all of that and suggested that perhaps the ADF attorneys “might need to take an application to the Court of Appeals.” In the end, a compromise appeared to be reached. Rather than referring to them as “transgender females,” the judge will allow the attorneys to simply say “transgender athletes.”

While finding a path to compromise is generally admirable in a tense confrontation, that doesn’t seem to address the underlying issue here. Judge Chatigny isn’t simply quibbling over semantics. He’s demonstrating a marked bias in favor of the league that’s arguing in favor of having the boys compete against (and frequently dominate) the girls. He’s also showing a substantial willingness to disregard the core argument at the heart of this case. None of the plaintiffs are saying that the transgender athletes can’t call themselves girls if they wish to. They’re pointing out that the two transgender athletes who were winning all of those events were mediocre athletes when compared to the rest of the top boys in the sport but they were still good enough to break many existing records among the girls. And that’s simply unfair.

Moving forward with the compromise suggested on the conference call doesn’t seem like a suitable answer. The judge needs to recuse himself and allow someone with less inherent bias to handle this case.

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