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Judge sides with ACLU, orders Arkansas attorney general's office to release documents related to gender ban

by Dale Ellis | April 6, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.
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Attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union won their fight to obtain some 4,500 emails from the Arkansas attorney general's office pertaining to transgender issues that attorneys for the state have tried to keep under wraps in a challenge to a transgender health care ban passed last year by the General Assembly.

U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr. ordered attorneys with the office of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to turn over the emails and to produce a privilege log within 10 days pointing out which of the 4,500 emails should be kept out of evidence. The emails in question pertain to another transgender law passed by the state, this one banning transgender girls from participating in girls' sporting events in Arkansas.

Dylan Jacobs, deputy solicitor general at the attorney general's office insisted during a hearing Tuesday in federal court that the content of those emails was irrelevant to the plaintiffs' case, a point contested by the plaintiffs' attorney, Daniel Richardson, who told Moody without being able to see the emails it was impossible to determine the relevance. 

Moody seemed skeptical of the state's position during the hearing, asking at one point if Jacobs was trying to say, on the record, that the emails pertaining to the banning of transgender girls from girls' sports had nothing to do with transgender people. Jacobs demurred on that point but continued to maintain that the emails bore no relevance to the plaintiffs' case. 

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