B.P.J. v. West Virginia State Board of Education
Description: A legal challenge to West Virginia’s Save Women’s Sports Act that, if successful, would undermine women’s sports by allowing males who identify as female to compete with females in girls’ and women’s sports.
Female athlete, WV attorney general's office defend state women's sports law at 4th Circuit
WHO: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys
WHAT: Available for media interviews following oral arguments in B.P.J. v. West Virginia State Board of Education
WHEN: Immediately following hearing, which begins at 8:30 a.m. EDT, Friday, Oct. 27
WHERE: U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit; Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Courthouse; 1100 E. Main St.; Richmond; or view the livestream. To schedule an interview, contact ADF Deputy Director of Media Relations AnnMarie Pariseau at (480) 417-3975.
RICHMOND, Va. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys will be available for media interviews Friday following oral arguments in B.P.J. v. West Virginia State Board of Education, a case concerning the state’s law protecting women’s sports, at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. West Virginia’s solicitor general will be arguing in defense of the state’s law before the court.
A middle-school male athlete competing on a West Virginia girls’ track team this past spring and suing to challenge the state’s law has displaced more than 100 female athletes more than 280 times and denied two girls spots in the conference championship. Therefore, in July, both the state and also a female athlete represented by ADF attorneys asked the court to suspend the injunction that is holding up full implementation of the law.
“When you ignore biological reality and allow males to compete on girls’ sports teams, girls are harmed and denied athletic opportunities—even in middle school,” said ADF Senior Counsel Christiana Kiefer. “West Virginia passed its women’s sports law to protect female athletes, requiring males to compete on teams consistent with their sex. This path is legal, logical, and longstanding. In this case, the male athlete’s athletic success demonstrates that the injunction against West Virginia’s women’s sports law is undeniably causing multiple girls to suffer, and we are urging the 4th Circuit to take immediate action to restore a fair playing field for female athletes.”
ADF attorneys represent Lainey Armistead, a former West Virginia State University soccer player who intervened in the lawsuit to defend the state’s law, which was enacted to ensure equal athletic opportunities for women. In January of this year, a federal district court ruled to uphold the state’s Save Women’s Sports Act.
“I believe that protecting fairness in women’s sports is a women’s rights issue,” Armistead said. “This isn’t just about fair play for me: It’s about protecting fairness and safety for female athletes across West Virginia. It’s about ensuring that future generations of female athletes are not discriminated against but have access to the same equal athletic opportunities that shaped my life. Being an athlete in college has made me even more passionate about the sport that I play. I want fairness, equality, and safety in sports. And I want to ensure those standards are protected for other girls, too.”
- Pronunciation guide: Kiefer (KEE’-fer)
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
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Christiana Kiefer serves as senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is a key member of the Center for Conscience Initiatives. Since joining ADF in 2012, Kiefer has worked to protect women's and girls' sports and has defended the bodily privacy rights of students. She has also worked to protect the constitutionally protected freedom of churches, Christian schools, and Christian ministries to exercise their faith without government interference. Kiefer earned her J.D. in 2010 from Oak Brook College of Law and Government Policy, where she graduated first in her class and served as a teaching assistant in criminal law. Also in 2010, Kiefer completed the ADF leadership development program to become a Blackstone Fellow. She is admitted to the state bar of California, the U.S. Supreme Court, and numerous federal district and appellate courts.
Jonathan Scruggs serves as senior counsel and vice president of litigation strategy and the Center for Conscience Initiatives with Alliance Defending Freedom. In this role, he identifies new litigation opportunities and develops new strategies for protecting free speech and religious liberty in collaboration with the chief legal counsel and litigation team directors. As the leader for the Center for Conscience Initiatives, Scruggs oversees the litigation team defending the rights of professionals and business owners to live out their faith as well as the litigation efforts to protect equal opportunities for women in athletics. Since joining ADF in 2006, Scruggs has worked on and prevailed in a variety of cases that protect the right of people to freely express their faith in their business, at school, and in the public square. He earned his J.D. at Harvard Law School and is admitted to practice in the states of Arizona and Tennessee. Scruggs is also admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court and multiple federal district and appellate courts.