May 2, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Judge denies Rep. Zooey Zephyr's attempt to return to Montana House

Supporters hold signs near a rally in support of transgender lawmaker Zooey Zephyr on April 29.

Supporters hold signs near a rally in support of transgender lawmaker Zooey Zephyr on April 29 in Livingston, Montana. Photo: William Campbell/Getty Images

Montana Rep. Zooey Zephyr (D), the state's only transgender lawmaker, cannot return to the state House floor, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Driving the news: District Court Judge Mike Menahan wrote in a five-page ruling that the court's power is limited and granting Zephyr's request to return "would require this court to interfere with legislative authority in a manner that exceeds this court’s authority."

  • The state's attorneys had asked the judge to reject Zephyr’s efforts to return, per AP.

Why it matters: This effectively rules Zephyr out for the rest of the legislative session, which is scheduled to end on May 5.

Catch up quick: Zephyr filed a lawsuit Monday challenging the GOP-led House's decision last week to censure her.

  • Zephyr was barred from the House floor and gallery last week for the remainder of the 90-day legislative session – the end of which is scheduled for Friday.
  • The move came following protests broke out in the House after she was silenced for saying fellow lawmakers would have "blood on their hands" if they supported a bill banning gender-affirming care.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Zephyr's girlfriend, who is a transgender journalist, was the target of a "swatting" attempt, according to the couple.

  • "Those who hate trans people are doing everything in their power to silence & harm us," Zephyr said in a tweet about the incident. "But we will not be deterred."
  • "Swatting" is the act of placing a fake emergency call to 911, who often dispatch SWAT teams to potentially violent situations.

Go deeper: What we know about Montana House silencing first transgender lawmaker

Go deeper