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.

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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.

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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.”

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