Civil Rights

11 states sue feds over new guidelines for restroom and locker room use by transgender individuals

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Transgender restroom

It isn’t just in Illinois and North Carolina that new standards concerning restroom and locker room use by transgender students in schools that receive federal funding have sparked litigation.

On Wednesday, a federal lawsuit was filed in Dallas by officials in 11 states against the Obama administration, contending that new federal guidelines for access to such facilities, in schools and workplaces, by transgender individuals are unconstitutional, according to ABC News and the Washington Post (reg. req.).

The plaintiffs are the states of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as individual school districts in Arizona and Texas, which note that violation of the guidelines could put at risk the nearly $70 billion that the federal government directs toward state and local education.

Accusing the feds of transforming “workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over commonsense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights,” the suit alleges that “new rules, regulations, guidance and interpretations described herein go so far beyond any reasonable reading of the relevant congressional text such that the new rules, regulations, guidance and interpretations functionally exercise lawmaking power reserved only to Congress.”

Citing legislative history of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the plaintiffs say lawmakers never intended to see these laws applied in this manner.

The suit also contends that federal guidelines concerning use of facilities by transgender individuals violate the Administrative Procedure Act, because they were adopted without standard notice and an opportunity to comment and exceed the rulemaking authority granted to the executive branch by lawmakers, among other reasons.

Additional counts include constitutional claims of violation of states’ rights and equal protection.

The suit seeks declaratory judgments; court orders precluding the defendants, who include U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, from enforcing any of the challenged federal standards; and “all other relief to which the plaintiffs may show themselves to be entitled, including attorneys’ fees and costs of courts.”

Other defendants include the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Education, Department of Labor and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as well as officials within these departments.

The Post says these entities either declined to comment or did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Hat tip: Associated Press.

Related coverage: “US tells schools to allow transgender students to use facilities matching their gender identity” “Does Title VII ban transgender bias? ‘Steady drumbeat of cases’ supports DOJ in bathroom bill case”

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