Nebraska Filibuster Over Trans Rights Echoes Wendy Davis’ 2013 Abortion Standoff

State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh ground Nebraska’s legislative body to a halt for three weeks, stonewalling every bill regardless of whether she personally opposed it. In eight-hour stretches, she fulfilled the promise she made to her colleagues last month: to “make it painful” for the statehouse to target trans youth—even if it meant sleeping on the hardwood floor of her office between committee hearings.

Her use of the filibuster to keep a bill from being quietly slipped through the legislature echoes another one-woman statehouse stand from 10 years ago. Both Wendy Davis and Cavanaugh took advantage of tools available to them as the minority party in their statehouses—and used it to amplify dry procedural politics into a powerful rallying cry. 

Transgender Minors Have a Right To Gender-Affirming Care, Justice Dept. Warns States

The Justice Department said last week that states seeking to block transgender minors from accessing gender-affirming care may be violating federal law—and signaled that it is prepared to pursue legal action or support existing litigation against states seeking such restrictions.

“It’s probably the most powerful and progressive step we’ve seen on transgender rights ever from the federal government, at least today,” said Ezra Ishmael Young, who teaches constitutional law at Cornell Law School.