Tucson Judge Denies Request for Jury in Transgender Sports Ban Case, Prolonged Legal Battle Continues

Tucson, Arizona – Republican Tom Horne’s efforts to limit transgender girls’ participation in school sports teams faced another setback last week. A Tucson judge denied his request for a jury trial.

Horne, the state’s public schools chief, had asked federal Judge Jennifer Zipps to allow a jury for the case. He argued that regular Arizonans would not make the same mistake as Zipps, who had temporarily blocked a 2022 law prohibiting trans girls from playing on teams that align with their gender identity.

In response to Horne’s petition, Zipps concluded that the case did not warrant a jury. She stated that she could independently determine the constitutionality of the law and did not need a jury to assist in the process.

Last year, two teenagers took Horne and their schools to court, claiming that the law violated their rights to equal protection and freedom from sex-based discrimination. Zipps, convinced by testimony from medical experts and athletic association officials, temporarily halted the enforcement of the law.

In an attempt to prevent the teens from joining girls’ sports teams, Horne appealed Zipps’ ruling. Republican legislative leaders also joined him in defending the law. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments on whether to reverse Zipps’ decision.

Horne had requested an advisory jury, but Zipps dismissed this request as well. She stated that since the case was an equitable challenge rather than a legal one seeking monetary compensation, the right to a jury trial did not apply. Zipps also expressed concerns about the objectivity of the requested advisory jury.

In response to the ruling, Rachel Berg, an attorney representing the girls, expressed satisfaction with the outcome. The organization she represents, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, will continue fighting to make Zipps’ injunction permanent.

Despite the setback, Horne remains committed to opposing the athletic ban. He stated that the absence of an advisory jury does not deter him from pursuing the case.

In conclusion, a Tucson judge denied Tom Horne’s request for a jury trial in his efforts to restrict transgender girls’ participation in school sports teams. The case, which challenges the constitutionality of the law, will now proceed without a jury’s involvement. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will also review the matter in the future.