In the Courts

Bush-Appointed Judge Blocks Biden Rule Expanding Title IX Protections

A Texas federal judge blocked the Biden administration’s attempt to expand Title IX protections to include “gender identity.”

Judge Reed O’Connor, a Bush-appointee, ruled Tuesday that the Department of Education’s (ED) newly revised Title IX guidance usurps congressional authority and pursues an agenda that is not consistent with Title IX’s intended purpose. The ED says the new rule prohibits schools with federal funding from “discrimination based on sex stereotypes, sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.”

“Rather than promote the equal opportunity, dignity, and respect that Title IX demands for both biological sexes, [the ED’s] Guidance Documents do the opposite in an effort to advance an agenda wholly divorced from the text, structure, and contemporary context of Title IX,” Judge O’Connor said. “Thus, to allow [the Biden Administration’s] unlawful action to stand would be to functionally rewrite Title IX in a way that shockingly transforms American education and usurps a major question from Congress.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the administration in 2023 over the rule, alleging that it unlawfully forces schools to adopt transgender ideology or risk losing access to federal funds. The new rule would allow biological males to access, “women’s restrooms or locker rooms or sports teams, or requiring students or teachers to use pronouns based on gender identity rather than biological sex,” he argued.

“Joe Biden’s unlawful effort to weaponize Title IX for his extremist agenda has been stopped in its tracks,” Paxton said in a press release on the ruling. “Threatening to withhold education funding by forcing states to accept ‘transgender’ policies that put women in danger was plainly illegal. Texas has prevailed on behalf of the entire Nation.”

House Republicans have also moved to have the new rule removed, with 68 republicans mounting a challenge through legislation released in June, according to a press release. The effort is lead by Republican Illinois Rep. Mary Miller.

“Joe Biden is undermining years of progress women have made in securing their rights under Title IX,” Miller said in the press release unveiling the legislation. “However, the Biden Administration is putting our girls at risk by allowing men to access women and girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms.”

The ED initially introduced a “notice of interpretation” in June 2021, to include sexual orientation and gender identity in Title IX protections.

Former President Donald Trump has vowed to kill the rule change on “day one” if re-elected in 2024.

“Every student deserves the right to feel safe in school. The Department stands by the final Title IX regulations released in April 2024, which were crafted following a rigorous process to give complete effect to the Title IX statutory guarantee that no person experiences sex discrimination in federally funded education,” the ED told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Wallace White

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