Zzyym v. Pompeo, No. 18-1453 (10th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff-appellee Dana Zzyym did not identify as either male or female, rather intersex. The United States State Department refused Zzyym's application for a passport. Zzyym sued, alleging that the State Department's reliance on a binary sex policy: (1) exceeded its statutory authority; (2) was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act; and (3) violated the federal Constitution. The district court concluded that as a matter of law, the State Department violated the APA on Zzyym's first two grounds; the court did not reach the constitutional claims. After review, the Tenth Circuit concluded the State Department acted within its authority. but exercised this authority in an arbitrary and capricious manner. The State Department gave five reasons for denying Zzyym’s request for a passport. Two of the reasons were supported by the administrative record, but three others weren’t. "Given the State Department’s partial reliance on three unsupported reasons, we don’t know whether the State Department would have denied Zzyym’s request if limited to the two supported reasons. The district court thus should have remanded to the State Department to reconsider the policy based only on the two reasons supported by the record."