The Biden administration relied heavily on the Supreme Court Bostock decision in order to defend its gender identity directives regarding sports, pronouns, and toilets. But a federal judge has other ideas.
U.S. District Court Judge Charles Atchley, a Trump appointee in the Eastern District of Tennessee, temporarily blocked anti-discrimination guidances issued last year by the Education Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, siding with a coalition of 20 Republican attorneys general.
Kansas Attorney-General Derek Schmidt was one of the Republicans to praise the order by the judge in the suit, filed in August.
” We sued the Biden Administration to stop them from penalizing states that keep women out of sports,” Schmidt tweeted on Sunday. Late Friday, the judge granted us a temporary .”
The attorneys general claimed that the Biden administration had exceeded its authority by issuing broad directives regarding employment, scholastic sport, and public accommodations. However, the Biden administration countered this argument by citing Bostock v. Clayton County’s 2020 decision.
The Bostock decision, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, held that employees could not be fired for being gay or transgender under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
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But judge Atchley decided that administration directives were “ignore Bostock .”
‘s limited reach.”
“The Bostock decision only addressed sex discrimination under Title VII; the Supreme Court expressly declined to ‘prejudge’ how its holding would apply to ‘other federal or state laws that prohibit sex discrimination’ such as Title IX,” Judge Atchley in his 47-page order.
He rejected the motion of dismissal by the administration and issued a preliminary injunction to prevent enforcement Title IX guidance from the Education Department and the Technical Assistance Document (EEOC) being enforced.
” Similarly, the Supreme Court specifically refused to determine whether Title VII’s’sex-segregated bathroom, locker room, and dress code’ are in violation of it,” the judge said. Bostock doesn’t require defendants to interpret Title VII or IX. Instead, the Defendants don’t agree to Bostock holding .”
The ruling was a defeat early in the administration’s ambitious efforts to include sexual orientation/gender identity under Title IX. This puts the federal government at odds with the red states that have passed laws banning male-born athletes from collegiate sports.
The administration based its executive decision to implement anti-discrimination policies via executive fiat largely on Judge Atchley’s Bostock decision. This legal basis was shaken.
In his Jan. 20, 2021, executive order, President Biden said that discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in areas such as education and housing is prohibited “under Bostock’s reasoning,” even though Bostock applied to Title VII, which bans employment discrimination.
The majority of Bostock’s opinion stated that it was impossible to discriminate against someone because they are homosexual or transgender, without also discriminating against them based on their sex. However, a significant caveat kept the scope of the ruling limited.
” They claim that sex-segregated bathroom, locker room, and dress code will be unsustainable following our decision today, but no other laws are before them; we haven’t had adversarial testing regarding the meanings of their terms and we don’t prejudge any question today,” Justice Gorsuch stated.
Judge Atchley stated that in applying Bostock Title IX to Bostock, the Department ignored the caveats explicitly recognized by the Supreme Court. He created new law .”
” Plaintiffs may show, as stated above, that Department of Education guidance provides rights and obligations to students, and regulated entities, not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This guidance is also found nowhere in Title IX or its implementing regulations,” said he.
Human Rights Campaign interim President Joni Madison questioned the judge’s interpretations of Bostock’s ruling by the Supreme Court.
” We are outraged at this Eastern District of Tennessee ruling. The court stopped guidance that would have confirmed what Bostock v. Clayton County had ruled: That LGBTQ+ Americans were protected by existing civil rights laws.” she stated.
The HRC claimed that the Bostock decision “recognized Title VII’s framework for prohibiting discrimination on sex also prohibits discrimination due to sexual orientation or gender identity .”
Title IX also uses the same framework as Title IX,” said the group.
The conservative Alliance Defending Freedom cheered the order, saying that it was “based in part on a flawed reading of Bostock v. Clayton County .”
” The court found that the Biden administration outshone its authority by issuing orders that could jeopardize fair playing,” stated Jonathan Scruggs, senior ADF counsel.
” The Biden administration’s bold push to define sex in federal laws–and without the necessary public comment period- aims to eliminate women’s sport and remove the chances for women Title IX was meant to protect. We are pleased that female athletes will be protected in 20 states while this lawsuit moves forward,” he said.
The ADF sought to intervene on behalf of three Arkansas female athletes and the Association of Christian Schools International in this case.
Last month, the Education Department released a rule that would expand Title IX in order to cover sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics. The Federal Register will be open for public comment until September. 12.
— Mica Snellner contributed to this article.