Federal judge blocks Title IX rule in another four states

July 8, 2024
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A federal district judge on Tuesday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its new regulations for Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in Alaska, Kansas, Utah and Wyoming.

Judge John Broomes of the District of Kansas wrote in a 47-page opinion that the Education Department lacked the authority to expand prohibited sex-based discrimination under Title IX to include discrimination based on gender identity and that the new regulations could chill speech “through vague and overbroad language.” The protections for LGBTQ+ students are at the heart of the Kansas lawsuit and other legal challenges.

Following Broomes’s order, the regulations—set to take effect Aug. 1—are now temporarily blocked in 14 states. He’s the third federal judge in the last month to rule against the Biden administration. Broomes also put the regulations on hold at any school or college attended by members of three organizations that joined the states in suing—Young America’s Foundation, Female Athletes United and Moms for Liberty.

Young America’s Foundation, a conservative student group, has chapters at colleges throughout the country. Moms for Liberty is a nationwide conservative group focused primarily on K-12 schools, while Female Athletes United is a smaller conservative group that advocates for the “protection and integrity of female athletics.” The organizations will now file a notice with the court identifying the schools where their members attend. That list is due by July 15 and will provide more information about the scale and breadth of this latest injunction.

Broomes noted that the order doesn’t prevent a school or college from adopting new policies. But the Education Department can’t enforce the new Title IX rule or impose consequences for those that fail to comply.

Plaintiffs in the Kansas lawsuit and other legal challenges have claimed that the new regulations will prohibit gender-specific facilities, such as restrooms and locker rooms. If the rule took effect, the states and the organizations said, they would be irreparably harmed, citing the cost of compliance and the potential violation of First Amendment rights.

Lawyers for the Biden administration argue that the Title IX change is in line with a 2020 Supreme Court decision, Bostock v. Clayton County, which protected LGBTQ+ individuals from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Broomes said that Bostock doesn’t apply to Title IX, and the statutory language “make[s] clear that the term ‘sex’ means the traditional concept of biological sex in which there are only two sexes, male and female.” He also said the department failed to consider how the rule change would affect cisgender students.

The department’s “reinterpretation of Title IX to place gender identity on equal footing with (or in some instances arguably stronger footing than) biological sex would subvert Congress’ goals of protecting biological women in education,” Broomes wrote. “The final rule would, among other things, require schools to subordinate the fears, concerns, and privacy interests of biological women to the desires of transgender biological men to shower, dress, and share restroom facilities with their female peers.”

The Biden administration can appeal the injunction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.



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