In its continuing effort to turn back the clock on social progress, the State of Texas -- joined by several other states -- has filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking a nationwide injunction halting enforcement of the Obama administration policies aimed at protecting transgender people from discrimination in schools and in the workplace.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decided the issue for its purposes — finding that transgender people are protected — in 2012. The Justice Department announced that the Obama administration backed that view in 2014. The Supreme Court, however, has yet to rule on the question of whether existing civil rights laws — primarily Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 — protect transgender people from discrimination.
After the Obama administration sent guidance to school districts in May explaining the administration’s interpretation of the law, conservative states such as Texas began preparations to sue. The move is the latest of many, many lawsuits filed by the Texas Attorney General’s Office in opposition to actions taken by the Obama administration.
The lawsuit appears to make 3 main arguments: (1) The administration didn't follow the notice and comment process for legislative rules; (2) The new mandates aren't supported by Title VII and Title IX; and (3) The new mandates violate the clear notice and anti-coercion requirements controlling the federal government’s power to use spending programs to coerce behavior.
Clearly this is an issue that will need to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.