The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued a ruling regarding a transgender illegal immigrant that recognizes the individual’s preferred pronouns and chosen name, though it is not the individual’s legal name used to file court documents.
The majority opinion, authored by Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and approved by six other SCOTUS Justices, uses the transgender-identifying person’s preferred pronouns, despite the fact that the individual is a biological male who has broken US immigration law. Conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote a concurring opinion that also used preferred pronouns, the opinion was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.
Leon Santos-Zacaria, who goes by the name Estrella, is a biological man who identifies as a transgender woman. As a Guatemalan native, he left the country in his teenage years and illegally immigrated to the US but was quickly removed by authorities in 2008. In 2018, Santos-Zacaria made a second illegal entry into the U.S. which is when he “sought protection from re-moval, including withholding of removal” according to the ruling.
Santos-Zacaria argued that he would face persecution in Guatemala, “and fears returning, because she suffered physical harm and faced death threats as a transgender woman who is attracted to men,” the opinion claims. Guatemala does not have any laws which actively criminalize LGBTQ+ individuals; however, the country does not recognize legal “homosexual marriage.”
An immigration judge within the Department of Justice reinstated the prior removal order issued for Santos-Zacaria, ultimately denying his request. The Board of Immigration Appeals concurred with the judge’s ruling, but Santos-Zacaria filed a petition for review in the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
SCOTUS unanimously overruled the lower court’s decision against Santos-Zacaria, and ruled in favor of the transgender-identifying individual on a procedural question. This will make it easier for an immigrant to challenge a Board of Appeals ruling by removing the requirement that the person “exhaust administrative remedies first.”
“We vacate the portion of the judgment of the Court of Appeals dismissing Santos-Zacaria’s petition for review and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion,” Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
The Supreme Court’s decision to comply with preferred pronouns on an official court opinion has received unprecedented support from left-leaning outlets that called for the conservative-majority Supreme Court’s demise just last year.
“Legal scholars and observers of the court noted that not only did the opinion correctly gender Ms Santos-Zacaria, but also that it used more humanising language for non-citizens than past opinions have," The Independent said.
The Supreme Court appeared to choose a side in the highly contested national debate on transgenderism, and their subtle ruling on the subject has conservatives outraged and concerned about future rulings.
Several court battles have already ensued within the states regarding parental rights concerning child transitions, and organizations have begun to challenge state laws limiting transgender procedures for minors. SCOTUS’s decision to use preferred pronouns and a preferred name rather than biological pronouns and legal name might mean that the court would be willing to side with the radical left in future cases.This piece first appeared on TPUSA.