On July 23, 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Kansas, Lambda Legal, National Center for Transgender Equality, and Transcend Legal filed a brief of amici curiae calling for the Court to amend parts of its opinion in Lamb v. Norwood to be limited to the scope of the case.
Michelle Lamb is currently in the custody of Kansas Department of Corrections, which contracts inmate medical care through Corizon. Ms. Lamb sued KDOC and Corizon, alleging that the defendants violated her Eighth Amendment rights by failing to effectively treat her gender dysphoria in accordance with current medical standards and for housing her in conditions that violate her constitutional rights. She sought an injunction from the Tenth Circuit Court directing the defendants to properly treat her condition and requested changes to the conditions of her confinement, primarily, transfer to a female-only facility. The Court denied her motion.
The amici curiae brief does not argue against the Court's decision that there was insufficient evidence supporting surgical care for gender dysphoria in Ms. Lamb's individual case. Rather, the brief asks the Court to remove from its opinion Sections 3 and 4 and the sentence, "Though prison officials have not authorized surgery or the hormone dosages that Michelle wants, the existing treatment precludes a reasonable fact-finder from inferring deliberate indifference." The Court's analysis is not based in the existing medical consensus but rather a single law review article, the conclusions of which have been rejected by every major medical association.
The amici were concerned that portions of the Court's panel opinion in Lamb v. Norwood go far beyond what was necessary to support its conclusion that Lamb had failed to provide evidence in support of her need for surgical care. Specifically, the panel opinion goes beyond the scope of the case and makes an analysis regarding the current medical consensus for treating gender dysphoria, expounding on Supre v. Ricketts, a case decided over thirty years ago. The Court interpreted the Supre precedent as an across-the-board bar of bringing Eight Amendment violation claims for denial of hormones or surgery to treat gender dysphoria. This interpretation contradicts decisions from several other Circuit courts.
Currently, the medical community accepts the World Professional Association for Transgender Health's Standards of Care, which recommend surgical treatment for transgender individuals where medically necessary.