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Supreme Court opinion uses female pronouns to refer to transgender woman

Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images

In a recent opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court used female pronouns to refer to a man who identifies as a woman.

The case pertains to a transgender woman from Guatemala who is seeking to remain in the U.S.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson delivered the high court's opinion in the case, and she was joined by Justices John Roberts, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. Justice Samuel Alito filed a concurring opinion, in which he was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.

"Petitioner Leon Santos-Zacaria (who goes by the name Estrella) fled her native Guatemala in her early teens. She has testified that she left that country, and fears returning, because she suffered physical harm and faced death threats as a transgender woman who is attracted to men," Jackson wrote in the opinion, using female pronouns to refer to the man.

"Santos-Zacaria eventually sought refuge in the United States. Her first stay in the country was brief, and she was removed by immigration authorities in 2008. In 2018, she returned and was apprehended again by immigration authorities," Jackson wrote. "At that point, Santos-Zacaria sought protection from removal, including withholding of removal based on the likelihood she would be persecuted in Guatemala."

President Joe Biden nominated Jackson to serve on the Supreme Court after pledging that he would nominate the first black woman to the nation's high court.

"We kept our promise to put the first Black woman on the Supreme Court, and we've appointed more Black women to the federal circuit courts than all previous presidents combined—and we're not done yet," Biden tweeted on Friday.

During the confirmation hearing last year, Jackson made headlines when she said she could not define the word "woman" and noted that she is not a biologist.

Sen. Blackburn asks Supreme Court nominee to define 'woman' | USA TODAYwww.youtube.com

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