Court: Obama Transgender Bathroom Directive Blocked Nationwide

Sara D. Davis/Getty Images
Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

A federal judge has ruled that a preliminary injunction against the Obama directive governing transgender access to public school restrooms applies nationwide.

As reported by Breitbart Texas, the injunction was issued on August 21. On September 16, the federal government filed a Motion for Clarification.

The judge issued the order on October 19 after the Court conducted a hearing on September 30 to clarify the Court’s preliminary injunction in the case. One of the questions posed to the Court, was the geographic scope of the Court’s preliminary injunction.

The injunction blocks the federal government from, in the words of the Office of the Texas Attorney General, “using the guidelines, or asserting that the guidelines carry any weight.” The Court also stated that the “injunction is limited to the issue of access to intimate facilities.” It applies throughout the country.

A question that remains unanswered, and the judge asked for legal briefing on the issue, is whether the injunction applies to Title VII investigations, in particular as it applies to workplaces where school teachers or staff use the same intimate facilities as the students. The judge said in his latest Order that “Defendants’ core missions to combat discrimination based on race, national origin, or disability, and the EEOC’s (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) statutory duties are not otherwise affected by the preliminary injunction.”

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on sex. Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities. The law applies to those schools and institutions, including local school districts, 7,000 post-secondary institutions, charter schools, for-profit schools, libraries, and museums, that receive federal financial assistance. Title IX provides that: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

The conflict began when on May 13, the Department of Education (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, sent a “Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students” to state and local agencies that receive federal financial assistance from the DOE. The Office of Civil Rights in the DOE joined with the DOJ and sent a letter which they represented should serve as “significant guidance” to school districts.

As reported by Breitbart Texas, the Texas Attorney General sued the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice, and other federal agencies and officials for commanding that Texas public schools open restrooms and locker rooms to both sexes.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton represents a 13-state coalition in the federal lawsuit in the Northern District of Texas. Texas and the other states that joined the Lone Star State are challenging the Obama Administration’s directive forcing local schools to allow students to use whatever bathrooms and other intimate facilities they wish that are consistent with their gender self-concept on a given day. Obama’s gender-fluid policy directed schools to abide by the policy without allowing local educators to decide what is best for their school and community.

The State of Texas is defending a local school district whose school policies are in conflict with the Obama Administration directive, the Harrold Independent School District. Harrold, Texas, is located in Wilbarger County and borders Oklahoma.

Attorney General Paxton released the following statement after the most recent favorable ruling for the Texas-led coalition:

“I am proud to lead a coalition of 13 states against the Obama Administration’s latest illegal federal overreach. The court’s reaffirmation of a nationwide injunction should send a clear message to the president that Texas won’t sit idly by as he continues to ignore the Constitution. The president cannot rewrite the laws enacted by the elected representatives of the people and then threaten to take away funding from schools to force them to fall in line.”

The parties were “Ordered to brief the remaining issues of whether the Defendants’ Guidelines are enjoined in total or whether the principal of severability applies to them, whether the injunction implicates Title VII in any manner (and specifically where school employees and staff may share intimate facilities with students), and whether OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) or DOL (Department of Labor) activity is implicated by the injunction.”

The plaintiffs were given a deadline of October 24 to respond and defendants must reply by October 28.

Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and associate judge in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.



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