Idaho’s transphobic governor spent half a million in public funds fighting a trans inmate’s surgery. The Supreme Court just told him to drop it
The US Supreme Court has denied Idaho governor Brad Little’s attempt to appeal a ruling that permitted a trans inmate to get gender-affirming surgery.
Even though Adree Edmo had her surgery in July – she’s just the second person to have gender-affirming surgery while in prison – Little is still spending taxpayer money fighting the ruling that allowed this to happen.
He had asked the Supreme Court for a review of the Ninth Circuit’s 2019 ruling, even though it had been previously upheld.
On Tuesday (October 13), the Supreme Court denied his request.
Edmo, the 32-year-old trans woman at the centre of the case, was sentenced to 10 years behind bars in 2011 for sexual abuse of a minor after performing a sex act on a male 15-year-old. She was 22 at the time.
She was diagnosed with gender dysphoria by prison doctors in 2012 but was denied access to gender-affirmation surgery, leading her to attempt self-castration while in prison on two occasions.
She sued for the right to undergo surgery in 2017, and was ultimately victorious in federal district and appellate courts.
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“It is no leap to conclude that Edmo’s severe, ongoing psychological distress and the high risk of self-castration and suicide she faces absent surgery constitute irreparable harm,” the panel of the Ninth Circuit wrote last year.
After surgery, she was transferred to a woman’s prison in Pocatello. It’s the first time a transgender inmate has moved into a women’s prison on order of a court.
But Brad Little is still fighting the ruling that allowed this to happen, saying in a statement that the “taxpayers of Idaho should not have to pay for a procedure that is not medically necessary”.
“From the start, this appeal was about defending taxpayers and I will continue to do so,” Little said.
Edmo’s surgery cost $75,000, which was covered by the Idaho Department of Correction’s plan under Corizon Health, a Tennessee-based prison health contractor.
The ongoing litigation, driven by Little, has so far cost $456,738 in legal fees.