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Biden’s Title IX Rule Is Now Blocked in 14 States

The Biden administration’s Title IX rule is now blocked in 14 states and a hodgepodge of other locations across the country after a third federal judge issued a temporary order on July 2 preventing it from taking effect in four additional states.

U.S. District Judge John Broomes’ order is the latest development in a set of eight lawsuits challenging the Biden administration rule, which explicitly protects LGBTQ+ students and staff from discrimination by adding gender identity and sexual orientation to the definition of “sex discrimination.”

The order halts the rule in Alaska, Kansas, Utah, and Wyoming. It also blocks the rule from taking effect in schools in Stillwater, Okla., the home of a middle school student who joined the lawsuit, as well as any schools attended by members of the Young America’s Foundation and the children of members of Moms for Liberty—two national conservative groups that signed onto the lawsuit.

Moms For Liberty, the Florida-based group that rose to national prominence fighting school boards over COVID safety protocols and has become a force in conservative politics, has chapters in at least one county in every state except Utah and Vermont, according to its website. The Young America’s Foundation, an organization for young conservatives largely at colleges and universities, has chapters on over 2,000 campuses, according to its website.

Last month, two other judges issued orders temporarily blocking the rule from taking effect in Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The latest order leaves it to the Biden administration “to determine whether patchwork enforcement of the [Title IX] rule is feasible and worth the risk,” Broomes, a judge in Kansas appointed by former President Donald Trump, said in his ruling.

The Education Department is currently reviewing the latest order and “stands by the final Title IX regulations released in April 2024,” an Education Department spokesperson said in a statement.

Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach, who led the lawsuit, said in a statement that the latest order is the “biggest [win] yet” for the Republican’s office.

“It protects girls and women across the country from having their privacy rights and safety violated in bathrooms and locker rooms and from having their freedom of speech violated if they say there are only two sexes,” Kobach said.

Some 26 Republican-led states are suing the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Miguel Cardona over the Title IX rule, arguing that the scope of the regulation goes beyond the Education Department’s authority as a federal agency and violates the principles of the landmark 1972 law that outlaws sex-based discrimination at all schools receiving federal funding by banning discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

The Title IX rule is set to take effect by Aug. 1 in locations without an injunction blocking it. In addition to explicitly prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, the rule rolled back Trump-era Title IX changes that allowed schools to use a stricter evidentiary standard when investigating sexual assault, harassment, and sex discrimination claims.

It also granted schools more flexibility in the processes they use to investigate Title IX complaints, allowing them additional latitude to customize their procedures.

Title IX compliance lawyers told Education Week that the new rule would make things easier for school districts in the long run, as it streamlines elements of the processes used in the investigation of Title IX complaints.

The Education Department has appealed both of the earlier rulings against its Title IX revision and asked trial courts to allow portions of the rule that haven’t been the subject of legal challenges, such as those streamlining investigative procedures, to take effect on Aug. 1 as scheduled. Courts have yet to rule on that request.

The 85-page, Kansas-led lawsuit argued that the Biden administration violated the text of Title IX by including “gender identity” in the definition of “sex” without clear authorization from Congress. The four states argued the move violates the Constitution’s Spending Clause as well as the First, Fifth, Tenth, and Fourteenth amendments. They also accused the Biden administration of seeking to “politicize our country’s educational system to conform to the radical ideological view of the Biden administration and its allies.”

“Gender ideology does not belong in public schools and we are glad the courts made the correct call to support parental rights,” Moms for Liberty co-founders Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich said in a statement reacting to Broomes’ order.

The orders blocking the Title IX rule from taking effect will remain in place as the separate cases make their way through federal courts. Judges grant such injunctions when they believe the cases are likely to ultimately succeed.

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