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Trial on gender-affirming care ban likely delayed to October

The judge also lifted a deadline to produce a document, after previously requiring attorney to hand it over or face potential jailing.

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U.S. District Judge Liles burke hinted Thursday that a trial on the merits of the lawsuit challenging Alabama’s law banning gender-affirming care may be pushed back to late October.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs supported pushing the trial back for a multitude of reasons including similar lawsuits making their way through the courts in other states. They are also still waiting to hear back on a request for an “en banc” hearing to have the case heard by the entire 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The state, however, argued that it wants to hold the trial as soon as possible.

The ban is in effect for the time being, as the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Burke’s injunction of the law was not proper.

Citing the Dobbs decision, the 11th Circuit said that precedent “did not establish that parents hav a derivative fundamental right to obtain a particular medical treatment for their children as long as a critical mass of medical professionals approve.”

The hearing Thursday also dealt with the case against the plaintiffs’ lawyers for “judge-shopping” and Burke’s recent order for the attorney to produce a Q&A document that has until now been considered protected by attorney-client privilege. The document was meant to prepare the lawyers to defend themselves from the accusations of judge-shopping.

Burke contends that the court needs to review the document to determine whether it is exempt from attorney-client privilege due to the crime fraud exception, arguing that it could be evidence of the attorneys attempting to perpetrate fraud on the court.

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The order has led to a back-and-forth between the judge and attorneys—Burke originally gave only a one-day deadline to turn over the document, and the attorneys in response filed a petition for writ of mandamus from the 11th Circuit, a last-resort effort for relief from the higher court. Burke then 

That led Burke to delay the deadline to May 28, and attorneys rescinded their petition for mandamus. The attorneys told Burke Thursday that they intended to refile that petition, however, and Burke has since ultimately lifted the deadline for now.

There will be a show cause hearing on the issue Tuesday.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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