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Case Name Brandt v. Rutledge FA-AR-0001
Docket / Court 4:21-cv-00450 ( E.D. Ark. )
State/Territory Arkansas
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Case Summary
On April 6, 2021, the Arkansas legislature passed H.B. 1570 over the governor’s veto. This bill, also titled the "Save Adolescents from Experimentation” (SAFE) Act, banned healthcare professionals from providing gender transition procedures to anyone under 18 or from referring anyone under 18 ... read more >
On April 6, 2021, the Arkansas legislature passed H.B. 1570 over the governor’s veto. This bill, also titled the "Save Adolescents from Experimentation” (SAFE) Act, banned healthcare professionals from providing gender transition procedures to anyone under 18 or from referring anyone under 18 to any healthcare professional for such procedures. Additionally, the SAFE Act prohibited coverage of gender transition procedures for minors by Medicaid or private insurance. The plaintiffs claimed the SAFE Act was unconstitutional on three grounds: (1) for violating the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment; (2) for violating the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and (3) for violating the First Amendment by prohibiting healthcare providers from referring their patients for medical treatments that are in accordance with the accepted medical standards to treat gender dysphoria. The relief sought by the families included: (1) Judgment on the unconstitutionality of the SAFE Act, (2) Preliminary and permanent injunctions on the SAFE Act; and (3) An award of reasonable attorneys’ fees. The case was assigned to Judge James Maxwell Moody, Jr.

On June 17, 2021, the United States filed a Statement of Interest echoing the plaintiffs’ claim that the SAFE Act violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. A number of national and state organizations of health professionals also filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs. These organizations included the American Medical Association and Arkansas Psychiatric Society.

On July 21, 2021, after oral arguments by both parties, the court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss and granted plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction on all three grounds that they had proposed. Further details followed in the court’s August 2 supplemental order. __ F. Supp. 3d __, 2021 WL 3292057, at *1. The court focused on the families’ equal protection claim and explained that H.B. 1570 “rests on sex-based classifications and… transgender people constitute at least a quasi-suspect class.” Moreover, the court found that the stated intents of the bill (“protecting children in Arkansas from experimental treatment or regulating the ethics of Arkansas doctors”) were pretextual. The court looked, among other things, at overwhelming medical testimony that “gender-affirming for transgender minors may be medically appropriate and necessary to improve the physical and mental health of transgender people.”

Defendants appealed the decision on August 20, 2021.

Achutha Raman - 10/15/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-area
Medical Exam / Inquiry
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
Sex discrimination
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Defendant(s) Arkansas State Medical Board
Attorney General of the State of Arkansas
Plaintiff Description Four transgender minors, their parents, and their doctors
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2021 - n/a
Filed 05/25/2021
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Brandt et al v Rutledge et al
ACLU
Date: May 25, 2021
By: ACLU
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
E.D. Ark.
09/30/2021
4:21-cv-00450-JM
FA-AR-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D. Ark.
05/25/2021
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
FA-AR-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
06/17/2021
Statement of Interest of the United States [ECF# 19]
FA-AR-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ark.
08/02/2021
Supplemental Order [ECF# 64] (2021 WL 3292057)
FA-AR-0001-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Moody, James Maxwell Jr. (E.D. Ark.) show/hide docs
FA-AR-0001-0003 | FA-AR-0001-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Beeney , Garrard R (New York) show/hide docs
FA-AR-0001-0001 | FA-AR-0001-9000
Cooper, Leslie (New York) show/hide docs
FA-AR-0001-0001 | FA-AR-0001-9000
Echols, Sharon Elizabeth (Arkansas) show/hide docs
FA-AR-0001-0001 | FA-AR-0001-9000
Esseks, James Dixon (New York) show/hide docs
FA-AR-0001-9000
Everett, Sarah (Arkansas) show/hide docs
FA-AR-0001-0001 | FA-AR-0001-9000
Holland, Alexander S (New York) show/hide docs
FA-AR-0001-0001 | FA-AR-0001-9000
Mann, Peter Drake (Arkansas) show/hide docs
FA-AR-0001-0001 | FA-AR-0001-9000
Ossip, Jonathan Joseph (New York) show/hide docs
FA-AR-0001-0001 | FA-AR-0001-9000
Oswell, Laura (California) show/hide docs
FA-AR-0001-0001 | FA-AR-0001-9000
Simpson LaGoy, Duncan C (California) show/hide docs
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Strangio, Chase (New York) show/hide docs
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Travis, Christopher L (Arkansas) show/hide docs
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Walas, Breean (Montana) show/hide docs
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Defendant's Lawyers Bronni, Nicholas Jacob (Arkansas) show/hide docs
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Cantrell, Michael (Arkansas) show/hide docs
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Guest, Ka Tina Rena (Arkansas) show/hide docs
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Wagner, Vincent Moore (Arkansas) show/hide docs
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Yu, Emily (Arkansas) show/hide docs
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Other Lawyers Askew, Jess L. III (Arkansas) show/hide docs
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Baia, Elizabeth (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Bowdre, Alexander Barrett (Alabama) show/hide docs
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Clarke, Kristen M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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de Kervor, Dylan Nicole (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Hogue, David R. (Arkansas) show/hide docs
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Isasi, William R (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Jones, Jerry C (Arkansas) show/hide docs
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Karlan, Pamela S (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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King, Andrew (Arkansas) show/hide docs
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LaCour, Edmund G (Alabama) show/hide docs
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Lannin, Cortlin Hall (California) show/hide docs
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Lanosa, Michael J (California) show/hide docs
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Lareau, Alyssa Connell (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Leicht, Michael Joshua (Arkansas) show/hide docs
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Medina, Anna Maria (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Powell, Meredith Autumn (Arkansas) show/hide docs
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Quattlebaum, Steven W (Arkansas) show/hide docs
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Simons, Shaheena A (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Smith, Shayne Dixon (Arkansas) show/hide docs
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Stoneman, Christine (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Tull, John E III (Arkansas) show/hide docs
FA-AR-0001-9000
Veta, D. Jean (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
FA-AR-0001-9000

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