Newly sworn-in Attorney General Jeff Sessions wasted no time in sending a strong signal about how he intends to handle former President Barack Obama’s controversial “bathroom order” and has let it be known that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has no intention of defending it.
The Family Research Council is reporting on the new stance from the DOJ about a “Dear Colleague” directive sent to schools last year by the Department of Education directing them to allow students to use the facilities that correspond to their gender identity rather than to their biological gender. The directive sparked a rash of lawsuits with one case already on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Thankfully, pushback from 13 states resulted in a ruling by Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas that found the Obama administration had overstepped its boundaries in issuing the directive. He issued a nationwide injunction which temporarily prevents the rule from taking effect.
The Obama administration appealed and were scheduled to have a hearing today but Session’s DOJ cancelled.
“The parties are currently considering how best to proceed,” Justice officials wrote.
According to The New York Times, Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, called the move a “callous attack” on “the dignity and safety of transgender students.”
“While the immediate impact of this initial legal maneuver is limited, it is a frightening sign that the Trump administration is ready to discard its obligation to protect all students,” she said in a statement. “Transgender students are not going away, and it remains the legal and moral duty of schools to support all students.”
However many others, including concerned parents, are breathing a sigh of relief.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said most Americans are hoping that the DOJ will formally withdraw the rule which has already had a deleterious effect on girls’ privacy and safety.
“In Palatine, Illinois, where girls were so afraid to change in the locker room that they wore their gym clothes under their school clothes, the Trump administration’s move is a positive step,” Perkins said.
“No child’s innocence should be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness. As even some Democrates will tell you, the federal government has absolutely no right to strip parents and local schools of their rights to provide a safe learning environment for children.”
President Donald J. Trump made it quite clear before the election that he did not believe the federal government should be involved in forcing such extreme policies on schools and argued that states should be allowed to make these decisions.”
Supporters of girls’ privacy may have won this battle, but the war is far from over. A case involving a female high school student from Virginia who dresses as a boy reached the U.S. Supreme Court after the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled in the girl’s favor and the school board appealed the decision. Oral arguments are expected to be heard next month.
Attorneys for the girl were hoping the DOJ would file an amicus brief in support of their position but this no longer seems likely.
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