Amanda Terkel reports:
“President Donald Trump’s administration announced on Wednesday that it will no longer bar schools from discriminating against transgender students, rescinding a policy put in place by the previous administration.
“The prior guidance documents did not contain sufficient legal analysis or explain how the interpretation was consistent with the language of Title IX. The Department of Education and the Department of Justice therefore have withdrawn the guidance,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “Congress, state legislatures, and local governments are in a position to adopt appropriate policies or laws addressing this issue. The Department of Justice remains committed to the proper interpretation and enforcement of Title IX and to its protections for all students, including LGBTQ students, from discrimination, bullying, and harassment.”
In May, under President Barack Obama, the departments of Education and Justice issued guidance mandating that any school that receives federal money must treat a student’s gender identity as his or her sex. Schools, for example, would therefore have to allow transgender individuals to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity, rather than the sex assigned to them at birth.
The federal government said at the time that transgender students were covered under Title IX, the statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. This interpretation had been on hold, however, after more than a dozen states sued the Obama administration and a judge issued an injunction in August.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was reportedly against rescinding the order and initially resisted signing off on it, but Sessions pushed her to do so because both departments had to agree in order to move forward.
In a statement Wednesday, DeVos said she considered protecting all students, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students, “not only a key priority for the Department, but for every school in America.”
“This is an issue best solved at the state and local level. Schools, communities, and families can find ― and in many cases have found ― solutions that protect all students,” she added.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer argued during his press briefing earlier Wednesday that Title IX does not apply to transgender issues because there was no discussion of gender identity when the statute was passed in 1972. Judges and justices, however, often interpret laws and the Constitution to apply to new issues that arise.”
Sure didn’t take Jeff Sessions long to prove his critics correct — that he is totally unqualified to hold the job of the nation ‘s chief lawyer and protector of “equal justice for all.” And, as someone from Alabama, with its sordid history of misuse of the rule of law against African Americans, Sessions knows exactly what the code term “States’ Rights” means. At least he made Betsy DeVos look almost, but not quite, good by comparison.