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Court Strikes Down Another Federal Transgender RuleCourt said the Education Department had not followed proper procedures for issuing guidance regarding transgender students.

An appeals court on Friday denied the Biden administration’s attempt to revive a directive that would have required schools to let transgender students join sports teams that align with their “gender identity” and grant female-identifying male students access to girls’ lockers and bathrooms.

In a June 14 ruling, the Ohio-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a Tennessee federal judge’s 2022 decision that temporarily blocked enforcement of U.S. Department of Education (DOE) guidance that called on federally-funded schools to let transgender students access spaces and programs that align with their “gender identity” but don’t match their birth sex, with non-compliance potentially leading to withholding of federal funds.
The appeals court said in its June 14 order that the Education Department had not followed the proper procedures for issuing the guidance and blocked enforcement of the guidelines pending the outcome of a lawsuit brought by 20 states.

DOE Sued

The case began in 2021, when 20 attorneys general from mostly Republican-led states sued the DOE over the guidance, arguing that they stood to lose significant federal funding for refusing to comply with the rules, which they said were in conflict with state laws.

Led by Tennessee, the 20 states asked the court in 2021 to block the guidance that the Education Department issued based on a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which focused on Title VII, the federal law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in the workplace.

At the time, the Education Department said it applied Bostock’s Title VII interpretation to Title IX because of “textual similarity” and that extending protections to transgender students was in line with the purpose of Title IX, the federal law that bans sex-based discrimination in schools.

The Education Department has since adopted an expanded version of Title IX that expands the definition of “sex” to include “gender identity,” with the modified version of Title IX undergoing numerous legal challenges across the country.

An Education Department spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement that the department believes that schools are required to abide by revamped Title IX regulations, regardless of the June 14 decision by the 6th Circuit.

“Schools are still obligated to comply with the final Title IX regulations by August 1 and we look forward to working with school communities all across the country to ensure the Title IX guarantee of nondiscrimination in school is every student’s experience,” the spokesperson said.

“Every student deserves the right to feel safe in school,” the spokesperson continued, adding that the department stands by the Title IX modifications that are slated to go into effect on Aug. 1.

Meanwhile, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative group that represents an association of Christian schools that joined the states’ challenge, praised the court ruling.
“The Biden administration’s radical push to redefine sex threatens the equal opportunities that women and girls have enjoyed for 50 years,” Matt Bowman, a lawyer with the group, said in a statement.
While ADF acknowledged that the appeals court ruling has no bearing on the revamped Title IX rules, its attorneys are involved in litigating the final rule, and the group has already secured a preliminary injunction halting what it describes as the Biden administration’s “illegal attempt to rewrite Title IX.”

Title IX in Focus

Each administration has taken a different approach to the enforcement of Title IX regulations, which educational institutions must abide by to receive federal funding.

President Joe Biden issued an executive order on March 8, 2021, which formally tasked the DOE with amending Title IX in a way that includes protections for an educational environment free of “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
The Education Department finalized the Title IX changes in April 2024, expanding the definition of sex discrimination and sex harassment, giving men who identify as women the right to use female restrooms and locker rooms, and to join female-only organizations while construing “harassment” as including the use of pronouns that conform to one’s biological sex rather than one’s chosen gender identity.
A rally at the White House to press the Biden administration to release the long-awaited final Title IX rule on Dec. 5, 2023. (Leigh Vogel/Getty Images)

The move to adopt the revamped Title IX rules, set to go into force on Aug. 1, sparked extensive backlash, with over a dozen Republican-led states suing the Biden administration and advising schools to ignore the transgender provisions of the new rules.

Several of the lawsuits that targeted the Title IX amendments have led to rulings unfavorable to the DOE.

For instance, a Texas judge recently ruled against the Biden administration in this regard, blocking enforcement of the expanded transgender protections in the Lone Star state, while a judge in Louisiana halted the rule’s enforcement in Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, and Idaho.

The Biden administration has advanced various policies that promote gender ideology and special protections for individuals who identify as something different from their birth sex.

On his first day in office, President Biden signed an executive order calling for the heads of government agencies to consult with the U.S. Attorney General on eliminating rules or regulations in any existing orders, guidelines, policies, and programs that were found to discriminate based on “gender identity.”
Several months after President Biden issued that executive order came the call for the Education Department to revamp Title IX to include “gender identity” as part of the definition of sex-based discrimination.
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