U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear Idaho’s appeal on inmates gender confirmation surgery

Adree Edmo | Idaho Department of Correction

POCATELLO — The United States Supreme Court has officially denied Idaho’s appeal in a case that forced the state to perform gender confirmation surgery for an inmate.

In May, the Supreme Court ruled that Idaho must provide the surgery for 32-year-old transgender woman Adree Edmo. On July 10, the surgery was performed. However, Idaho continued to fight the ruling handed initially handed down by a federal district judge and upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The country’s highest court officially denied Idaho’s writ of certiorari on Tuesday. That is a legal term for a formal appeal to the Supreme Court to review the ruling of a lower court.

The court battle between Edmo and Idaho began in 2017 when Edmo said they were subjecting her to cruel and unusual punishment because Idaho would not provide the gender confirmation surgery. Edmo was in the middle of a 10-year prison sentence for the sexual abuse of a 15-year-old boy.

Edmo is currently in prison at the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center. Edmo’s sentence reaches its end on July 3, 2021.

Idaho Department of Correction spokesman Jeff Ray told EastIdahoNews.com earlier that Edmo’s surgery cost around $75,000. However, Ray did not clarify if this fell under the already existing contract established with Corizon Health, the prison’s health care provider.

In August, Idaho Press reported that in fact Edmo’s surgery was covered under the contract. The battle to fight Edmo’s surgery cost Idaho over $456,000 in legal fees and other costs, according to their report.

“I am disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court chose not to take up this case,” Governor Brad Little said in a statement to EastIdahoNews.com. “The taxpayers of Idaho should not have to pay for a procedure that is not medically necessary. From the start, this appeal was about defending taxpayers and I will continue to do so.”

Edmo became the second inmate in the United States to receive such a surgery. In 2017, Shiloh Heavenly Quine, an inmate in California, received gender confirmation surgery while serving a life sentence. Quine was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery for ransom.