This past Friday a federal judge ruled to temporarily block Biden Administration directives that allowed transgender students and workers to use whichever locker room or bathroom they said matched their gender identities. This same rule had also allowed transgender athletes to play on sports teams matching their chosen genders.
“Judge Charles Atchley Jr. of the Eastern District of Tennessee ruled on Friday that the administration’s directives would make it impossible for some states to enforce their own laws on transgender athletes’ participation in girls’ sports and access to bathrooms,” Reuters.com stated.
Last year, 20 Republican attorneys general filed a lawsuit against the federal government because of the huge loss of federal funding their states faced, since their state laws conflicted with Biden’s directives.
Judge Atchley ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, saying states “cannot continue regulating pursuant to their state laws while simultaneously complying with Defendants’ guidance.”
The judge’s temporary injunction prevents the Biden Administration from enforcing its directives until the matter is decided based on its merits, via the attorneys general lawsuit.
Judge Atchley wrote in his ruling that the attorneys general are likely to, ultimately, win their lawsuit:
“In light of these general principles, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their notice and comment claim. Plaintiffs can establish that Defendants’ challenged guidance documents are legislative rules that create new rights and obligations, and Defendants do not contend that they complied with the APA’s notice and comment requirements.”
According to Reuters, the coalition of Republican states “argued the Biden administration directives improperly expanded on a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that extended anti-discrimination protections to transgender workers.”
In Bostock v. Clayton County, the high court ruled that employers may not fire workers based on gender identity or sexuality. However, according to Fox News, “the high court said in its decision they were not deciding whether ‘sex-segregated bathrooms, locker rooms, and dress codes’ violate Title VII.”
Though the Department of Education declared last year that the Bostock ruling also applied to schools, because of Title IX, “which bars sex bias in federally funded educational programs,” Judge Atchley disagreed.
Atchley affirmed that the Supreme Court had explicitly excluded sex-segregation issues from its ruling.
Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, tweeted Monday that Judge Atchley’s order “is a major victory for women’s sports and for the privacy and safety of girls and women in their school bathrooms and locker rooms.”
The plaintiff attorneys general represent the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia.
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