Senior associate Devon Little and associate Derek Borchardt shared a victory when a unanimous panel of three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed with a lower court that denying gender-confirmation surgery to an Idaho prisoner with gender dysphoria constituted “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of the eighth amendment of the Constitution.
Adree Edmo will be the first transgender prisoner in the nation to receive gender confirmation surgery through a court order. The Court ruled that the state of Idaho must provide the surgery to Edmo, a transgender woman.
“This is a huge victory for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the many organizations and individuals who served as amici curiae, and advocates for the rights of prisoners and transgender individuals,” Little said. “We are thankful to work at a firm that supports and encourages attorneys to get involved in timely pro bono matters like this that have a direct impact on people’s lives.”
In April, 2019, Little and Borchardt, along with attorneys from the ACLU, filed an amicus brief on behalf of a group of former corrections officials in support of the notion that prisons must provide transgender individuals with all medically necessary treatments for gender dysphoria, including gender-confirmation surgery where appropriate.
The ruling could have important implications across the nation, as prison officials address the medical needs and rights of incarcerated transgender persons.