5th Circuit Tosses Challenge to Mississippi HB 1523 on Standing Grounds

A three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit dissolved a preliminary injunction and dismissed two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of H.B. 1523, a Mississippi law that was enacted last year. Barber v. Bryant, 2017 Westlaw 2702075, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11116 (June 22, 2017). The statute intended to assure that people who hold anti-gay or anti-transgender views cannot be subject to any adverse action from their state or local governments, and that public institutions can bar transgender people from using gender-labelled public facilities inconsistent with the sex indicated on their birth certificates. Counsel from Lambda Legal, the Mississippi Center for Justice, and the Campaign for Southern Equality filed petitions for rehearing en banc on July 6.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves, finding that the plaintiffs were likely to prevail on their claim that the law violated their equal protection rights as well as the constitutional prohibition on establishment of religion, issued a preliminary injunction last June 30, so the law, which was to become effective last July 1, has not gone into effect. Ruling on June 22, the panel found that none of the plaintiffs had standing to bring this challenge to the law because, in the court’s opinion, none had suffered an individualized injury that would give them the right to challenge the law.

For the full story, access the Summer 2017 issue of LGBT Law Notes.