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Tipsheet

Judge Blocks Biden Admin's Transgender School Bathroom Rule

Gerry Broom/AP Photo

A federal judge blocked the Biden administration’s directive that allowed transgender workers and students to use school restrooms matching their gender identities and also allowed transgender athletes to join sports teams corresponding with their chosen genders.

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Tennessee Judge Charles Atchley Jr.ruled that the administration's directive would make it impossible for some states to enforce their own laws on transgender athletes' participation in girls' sports and access to bathrooms.

The decision came after a group of 20 Republican attorney generals sued against the federal government last year, noting that they would lose a significant amount of federal funding as Biden’s directives were in conflict with their own state laws.

The Trump appointee agreed with their stance, writing in his order that “the states cannot continue regulating pursuant to their state laws while simultaneously complying with Defendants' guidance.”

Attorney General John O’Connor (R-Ok), one of the plaintiffs in the suit, applauded the Judge’s order, saying that it “is a major victory for women's sports and for the privacy and safety of girls and women in their school bathrooms and locker rooms.”

According to Reuters, the states also argued that the Biden administration’s directives “improperly expanded on a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that extended anti-discrimination protections to transgender workers,” in the Bostock v. Clayton County case. 

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Clayton County fired county employee Gerald Bostock for "unbecoming" behavior after he participated in a gay recreational softball league. In the 2020 case, the Supreme Court ruled that workplace sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should extend to sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Department of Education concluded that because Title IX, which bars sex bias in federally funded educational programs, borrowed language from Title VII, Bostock also applied to schools.

Therefore, the department suggested the court’s decision should be applied to sex-segregated bathrooms, however Judge Atchley disagreed.

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