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On August 1, 2016, Partner Paul M. Smith argued for a preliminary injunction on North Carolina’s controversial “Bathroom Bill.” Signed into law in May, House Bill 2 requires that access to restrooms and changing facilities in all public buildings be restricted based on whether users are shown as male or female on their birth certificates -- thus effectively barring use by many transgender persons consistent with their gender identities. The firm is co-counsel with Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union in their challenge to the bill. In arguments before a federal judge, Mr. Smith and others on the team contended that H.B.2 is a dangerous violation of Title IX and the Constitution and should be enjoined until the court has ruled on the merits.
Several media outlets reported on the arguments. Mr. Smith is quoted in an Associated Press article saying that transgender North Carolina residents must choose each day between breaking the law and using restrooms that don’t match their identity and appearance. “They’re eventually left with no option,” he said.
In addition to Mr. Smith, the Jenner & Block team includes Partners Luke C. Platzer and Scott B. Wilkens and Associates Mark P. Gaber, Thomas D. Garza, Lorenzo Di Silvio and Nicholas W. Tarasen.