Federal judge blocks transgender guidance for public school students
Recently, a Texas federal judge clarified the conditions of an injunction he issued in August that prevented the enforcement of guidelines affecting transgender students at public schools nationwide. The guidelines, issued by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education, outlined how schools across the country were to accommodate transgender students.
The civil rights heads of the DOJ and the DOE said, when the guidelines were released in May, that they were supposed to “provide clarity,” and help community members “create a safe, welcoming and supportive learning environment for every student,” according to the Huffington Post. After the guidelines were released, plaintiffs from 13 states, led by Texas, sued the federal government because they believed the guidelines amounted to an overreach of the Obama administration’s authority in such matters.
“These new mandates, putting the federal government in the unprecedented position of policing public school property and facilities ... run roughshod over clear lines of authority, local policies, and unambiguous federal law,” the plantiffs in the case said in a July motion, according to the Huffington Post.
U.S. district judge Reed O’Connor agreed with the Texas-led coalition and issued an injunction in August to prevent the joint DOJ/DOE guidelines from being enforced. O’Connor said of the guidelines that “permitting the definition of sex to be defined in this way would allow Defendants to create de facto new regulation by agency action without complying with the proper procedures,” according to the Huffington Post.
O’Connor clarified, saying that U.S. attorneys could proceed with cases related to transgender rights that don’t focus on bathroom access, according to USA Today.
Texas attorney general Ken Paxton claimed the clarification as a victory for the Texas-led group of plaintiffs, according to Breitbart.
“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,” Paxton said, according to Breitbart.
“A ruling by a single judge in one circuit cannot and does not undo the years of clear legal precedent nationwide establishing that transgender students have the right to go to school without being singled out for discrimination,” the groups said, adding that the decision “targets a small, vulnerable group of young people ― transgender elementary and high school students ― for potential continued harassment, stigma and abuse.”
The Obama administration is expected to request an emergency stay in the decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, according to the Huffington Post.