Not content with merely forcing colleges and universities to eliminate hundreds of male athletic teams, radical feminists are now trying to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to create a private cause of action so activist judges can make personnel decisions about who should coach sports teams.
Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions and sets forth the remedy for violations, does not expressly authorize individuals to bring lawsuits, and the high court made clear in a 2001 case that private causes of action can only be created by Congress, not by bureaucrats or judges. Nevertheless, feminists have gone all out to try to reinterpret Title IX in ways never intended by the 1972 law.
The male plaintiff in this Title IX case heard by the Supreme Court on Nov. 30, Roderick Jackson, the girls basketball coach at Ensley High School in Birmingham, Ala., was never "subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity" on the basis of his sex.
Jackson's lawsuit claims he was retaliated against and lost his position as coach in 2001 (his employment at Ensley High as a teacher was never threatened and Jackson has since been reinstated as head girls coach by a new principal) because he complained that the girls team did not receive the same access to Ensley High School's main gymnasium that the boys team received. Even though he has his coaching position back, Jackson has pursued his lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court.
Nothing in Title IX gives an employee job protection if his boss doesn't like his attitude or comments, and nothing in Title IX mentions retaliation. President George W. Bush has repeatedly said that he "will not stand for judges who undermine democracy by legislating from the bench," but his lawyers are now asking the Supreme Court to legislate a brand new right.
Jackson could have sued because his free speech rights were infringed, or if he had a legitimate job discrimination claim he could have taken action under U.S. employment laws.
But, no, this case is an appeal to activist judges to rewrite Title IX to make it even more powerful as a tool to punish men and all things masculine.
Jackson lost his case in U.S. district court, and again in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta. Then, out of the blue, the Bush administration intervened, asking the Supreme Court to take this case, argued strenuously on Jackson's side, and sought and received permission to address the justices in the oral argument even though the federal government is not a party to the case.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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