Monday, August 22, 2016

From the Houston Chronicle: Texas judge blocks federal directive on bathrooms and transgender students

This is worth discussion.

It applies to a variety of topics we will cover in class including federalism, civil rights, presidential power, the courts, and checks and balances. And probably more, like the role of Texas' attorney general, and electoral politics. And still more!

- Click here for the article.
A Fort Worth federal judge temporarily has blocked the implementation of President Obama's directive ordering public schools across the country to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.
In a 38-page ruling issued late Sunday, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor said he was blocking the directive because it contradicted other regulations and because the federal government had not complied with rules regarding public comment and notice.
"This case presents the difficult issue of balancing the protection of students' rights and that of personal privacy when using school bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and other intimate facilities, while ensuring that no student is unnecessarily marginalized while attending school...," O'Connor wrote. "The resolution of this difficult policy issue is not, however, the subject of this Order."
The Obama administration issued the directive in May, in the middle of a still-ongoing fight over a North Carolina law that requires people to use public bathrooms of the gender of which they were born. The directive implied that public schools could lose federal funding for not accommodating transgender students.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who led a coalition of 13 states who sued over the directive in May, said he was "pleased" with Sunday's injunction.
"This President is attempting to rewrite the laws enacted by the elected representatives of the people, and is threatening to take away federal funding from schools to force them to conform," Paxton said in a statement. "That cannot be allowed to continue."
Civil rights advocates expressed disappointment with the ruling. The Human Rights Campaign said it would "thousands at risk as they return to school."
"Judge O'Connor's decision to bar the Department of Justice from enforcing this important guidance puts thousands of transgender students at even greater risk of marginalization, harassment, and discrimination as they return to school this fall," said Sarah Warbelow, the organization's legal director, in a statement. "All students, regardless of their gender identity, deserve to be able to learn in an environment free from discrimination."

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