Idaho Governor Criticizes 'Activist Court' for Ordering Gender Surgery for Convicted Child Molester

Susan Jones | August 28, 2019 | 7:42am EDT
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(Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

( - The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that Idaho taxpayers must pay for a 31-year-old prison inmate to undergo "gender confirmation surgery" -- the opinion does not call it sex reassignment -- allowing the inmate to remove the bits that show the inmate was born a male.

Mason Dean Edmo, now called Adree Edmo, pleaded guilty in 2012 to sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy at a party.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little, frustrated by the "activist court," said his state plans to appeal once again, this time to the U.S. Supreme Court:

"Well, there have been two other courts that have ruled opposite, and we appealed this to the Ninth Circuit and we -- we're going to appeal it again," Little told Fox News Tuesday night.

"We just heartily disagree. It's a bad precedent, it's going to be expensive, and it's contrary to the health professionals that we've had reviewing inmate Edmo's record, all the things about the inmate. And it's just contrary to good practices, and it's another example of activist court getting in the middle of something and creating a precedent that's going to be expensive for the taxpayers of Idaho and potentially all the taxpayers of the United States."

Host Laura Ingraham noted that unelected judges, with lifetime tenure on the courts, are making policy that goes against "common sense" and the will of the American people.

"Well, as I said, there's two other courts, federal courts, that have ruled in very similar cases just the opposite way," Gov. Little responded. "So we're hopeful that justice will prevail and the taxpayers in Idaho and other states won't be forced to pay for what we see as a procedure that our health care professionals say is not necessary."

Ingraham predicted that the case will end up at the Supreme Court because of the split decisions from lower federal courts.

In its conclusion, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote:

"We hold that where, as here, the record shows that the medically necessary treatment for a prisoner’s gender dysphoria is gender confirmation surgery, and responsible prison officials deny such treatment with full awareness of the prisoner’s suffering, those officials violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment."

The court found that Edmo's gender dysphoria "causes Edmo to experience persistent distress so severe it limits her ability to function. She has twice attempted self-castration to remove her male genitalia, which cause her profound anguish."

In a statement after the court released its ruling last Friday, Little said:

"The hardworking taxpayers of Idaho should not be forced to pay for a convicted sex offender’s gender reassignment surgery when it is contrary to the medical opinions of the treating physician and multiple mental health professionals. I intend to appeal this decision to the U.S Supreme Court. We cannot divert critical public dollars away from the higher priorities of keeping the public safe and rehabilitating offenders.”


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