Federal judge blocks Department of Education Title IX guidelines that protect transgender students

The states also argued that forcing schools to use transgender students’ pronouns is illegal under the First Amendment and that the Department of Education violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the Tenth Amendment, which delegates certain powers to States.

The Department of Education, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice, along with their leaders, are listed as defendants. They had urged the court to dismiss the lawsuit, which Atchley denied.

“As things stand, plaintiffs must choose between the threat of legal consequences — enforcement action, civil penalties, and withholding federal funding — or changing their state laws to ensure compliance with the guidelines and avoid such harmful actions,” wrote Atchley, a Donald Trump appointee.

The preliminary injunction essentially ties the department’s hands when it comes to protecting transgender students from discrimination in 20 states that have laws or are trying to pass laws that restrict their access to facilities and sports. The department will need to finalize its Title IX rule to enforce its guidelines.

Oral arguments: Former Tennessee Associate Solicitor General Sarah Campbell, on behalf of Tennessee and the other 19 states, argued in November that the department, through guidelines released last year, had rewritten “the federal anti-discrimination laws they enforce.” Campbell now sits on the Tennessee Supreme Court.

“That’s not how the legislation is supposed to work,” Campbell said, arguing that the Biden administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act when it issued the guidelines and that “the sovereign authority of the states to applying its own legal code was directly harmed as a result”.

Campbell also took aim at the Biden administration’s decision to craft its guidelines around the landmark Supreme Court opinion in Bostock v. County of Clayton, which says it is illegal to discriminate against people because of their gender identity or sexual orientation in the workplace. She argued that the case did not extend to Title IX, or access to locker rooms or bathrooms.

They argued that the Biden administration had not disavowed that they would apply the interpretation and they mentioned a West Virginia trial where the Department of Justice filed a statement of interest saying that banning transgender children from sports teams who match their gender identity violates Title IX.

In his Friday order, Atchley wrote that the department’s guidance documents “ignore the limited scope of Bostock.”

And after: The Department of Education released its proposed Title IX rule in June, which would codify its guidelines protecting transgender students once they are finalized. The rule comment period extends through September.

The department should undertake a separate rule-making process to determine athletic eligibility. A timetable for this process has not yet been established.

The court ruling will also likely be used to bolster arguments in a Connecticut case before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals challenging whether transgender women and girls can play on sports teams that match their gender identity. . Arguments in this case are set for September 29.


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