Idaho joins White House lawsuit to protect trans students

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Idaho has joined 19 other GOP-led states in suing the Biden administration over its claims that federal law protects LGBTQ students from discrimination “on the basis of sex.”

The move marks an effort to protect the state’s ban on transgender athletes from legal challenge.

The Biden administration in June directives issued saying Title IX – a federal law that protects students from discrimination in education and sports on the basis of sex – applies to gay and transgender students. The policy is a return to the orientations of the Obama era. The Trump administration has taken the opposite view.

The Biden administration’s “interpretation notice”, part of the directive, said the restored understanding of Title IX would guide the US Department of Education in conducting investigations, but “it does not determine the result in a particular case or a set of facts. “

The states lawsuit argues that federal officials could inflict “irreparable” damage by withholding federal funding for education. The lawsuit also alleges that federal agencies are breaking the power of state and Congress, rewriting the law “to address very controversial and localized issues such as whether employers and schools can maintain gender-separated showers and locker rooms. , whether schools should allow biological men to compete on women’s sports teams, and whether individuals can be forced to use another person’s preferred pronouns.

State attorneys general have called for the guidelines to be thrown out, not implemented, and for the court to say that Title IX does not prohibit states from having laws that divide sports teams based on gender, among other demands.

Their lawsuit ridicules Biden Title IX guidelines as “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion” that challenges laws based on “long-standing regulations allowing gender-separated living facilities and sports teams.”

States filed the lawsuit Monday with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, according to the Hill. Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery is leading the case; her state places restrictions on transgender students who participate in school sports teams and use any school washroom they choose.

State arguments will be familiar to federal officials. In July, the same 20 states, plus Texas, wrote a letter to President Biden condemning the same set of guidelines as “a 180 degree change” from the Trump administration that “goes far beyond the interpretation of the title IX and instead seeks to rewrite it. The costume centers on the same concerns as the letter presented. These include that the Biden administration incorrectly applies the definition of gender discrimination used in a landmark Supreme Court decision of last year, which ruled that employees cannot be discriminated against because of their LGBTQ status.

States like Idaho argue that the newly established protections against “sex” discrimination in labor law do not apply to Title IX, an education law.

A separate lawsuit challenging Idaho State Law Banning transgender women and girls from participating in school sports for women and girls prompted the state to join the lawsuit, spokesman Scott Graff said via email on Friday.

The first of its kind in the United States, Idaho’s ban on transgender athletes was passed by the state’s qualified-majority Republican legislature and enacted by Republican Gov. Brad Little in 2020. The idea was exported. across state borders; in April, more than 30 states were considering similar bills, the Idaho Capital Sun reported. Alabama, Arkansas, Alaska, Montana and Tennessee have since passed similar laws and are now part of the lawsuit against the Biden administration.

Enforcement of Idaho’s ban, dubbed the Women’s Sports Fairness Act, is temporarily waiting while a federal court assesses challenges to its constitutionality. These challenges, set out in the Hecox vs. Little cases, focus on the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Fourth Amendment. Opponents argue the law would trigger unconstitutional searches and seizures because it would allow anyone to challenge the gender of a student-athlete on a women’s or girls’ team, requiring an invasive medical examination to prove their gender.

We don’t know when, but another hearing is expected later. Hecox vs. Little case this fall, maybe in October.

Further Reading: EdNews describes the ins and outs of the ongoing federal-state legal dispute in this July report.

About Blake Jones

Journalist Blake Jones covers politics and politics of the Idaho K-12 public school system. He has been a lifelong Idaho native and holds degrees in creative writing and political economy from the College of Idaho. Follow Blake on Twitter @jonesblakej. He can be contacted by email at [email protected]

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