WASHINGTON, May 26, 2016 — Eleven states have filed suit against the White House over a Department of Justice directive. The directive lays out the Obama administration’s view of the law, which is that public schools must allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that fit their own gender identity, rather than their sex at birth.
The lawsuit backs up the states’ determination to defy the DOJ directive.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading the suit against the DOJ. Besides Texas, the states joining the suit are Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Arizona, Maine, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah and Georgia. The lawsuit charges that the federal government overstepped its constitutional powers with actions that should be left to Congress or the individual states.
The White House defends the directive under Title IX of the Education Amendments, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities. The administration says that “transgender” is included in the definition of “sex.” President Obama says he will pull federal funds from any schools that do not allow transgender students to use the bathroom facilities of their choice. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he is willing to forfeit $10 billion in federal funds.
Conservatives across the country have fired back against the Obama administration’s directive. They argue that it threatens the safety of students and that the threat to withhold federal funding for schools is an attempt to blackmail states.
The lawsuit comes after North Carolina and the DOJ filed suits against each other over the state’s “bathroom bill.” That bill has cost the state jobs and money. Both PayPal and Deutsche Bank abandoned plans to build new facilities in the state because of the measure.
This move by the Obama administration can be seen as an attempt to transform America and cement a legacy for Obama as a warrior for the LGBT community. The restroom issue looks likely someday to land in the Supreme Court.