The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday
denied Idaho's request to block gender reassignment surgery for a
The state turned to the high court
after lower courts affirmed the inmate's right to obtain the surgery
under the U.S. Constitution.
The request was submitted to U.S.
Associate Justice Elena Kagan, who referred it to the entire court.
“Justice [Clarence] Thomas and
Justice [Samuel] Alito would grant the application,” the one-page
Last year, a three-judge panel of the
U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Idaho Department of
Corrections to provide gender reassignment surgery to Adree Edmo. The
court said that denying the procedure when it is medically necessary
violates the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“We hold that where, as here, the
record shows that the medically necessary treatment for a prisoner’s
gender dysphoria is gender confirmation surgery, and responsible
prison officials deny such treatment with full awareness of the
prisoner’s suffering, those officials violate the Eighth
Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment,” the
Edmo, a Native American transgender
woman in custody since 2012, previously testified that in 2015 she
attempted to castrate herself using a disposable razor blade. She
removed one testicle during a second attempt in 2016. The testicle
was repaired at a nearby hospital.
Edmo is represented by the National
Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).
“The Court’s denial of the stay
clears the way for Adree Edmo to get medically necessary surgery that
she has needed for years,” Amy Whelan, senior staff attorney at
NCLR, said in a statement. “The lower courts found, based on
extensive evidence and proof, that the Idaho Department of
Corrections and Corizon Health are violating Ms. Edmo’s
constitutional rights by withholding this critical medical care.
Today’s decision means that the State can no longer delay in
providing care that is essential to Ms. Edmo’s health, safety, and