Dylan Brandt and his mom, Joanna Brandt, won their case so far against Arkansas's ban on medical gender-affirming care for people under 18.

Federal appeals court judges will hear oral arguments April 11 in the case of an Arkansas law that would ban gender-affirming health care for minors.

U.S. District Judge James Moody in Little Rock overturned the law in June of last year, and a three-judge appeals court panel upheld that decision. But state officials are now appealing to the full 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.


That court has 11 judges, including two from Arkansas — Judges Lavenski R. Smith of Little Rock and Bobby E. Shepherd of El Dorado. Shepherd’s name, however, is not listed among the 10 judges who will be hearing arguments, and a court clerk said today that he has recused. A specific reason was unavailable.

Smith and Shepherd, both appointed by former President George W. Bush, are listed online as having contributed to the conservative Federalist Society.


In December, Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned women’s abortion rights in defense of a state law banning gender-affirming health care for minors. The 2021 state law prohibits health care providers from offering treatment for gender dysphoria in patients younger than 18 — specifically puberty-blocking drugs and cross-sex hormones.

Also in December, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychiatric Association were among the medical organizations that filed a court document on behalf of minors seeking access to gender-affirming care. According to the medical professionals, the “widely accepted view” among physicians and psychiatrists is that, “Gender-affirming care greatly reduces the negative physical and mental health consequences that result when gender dysphoria is untreated.”