Written by Ashton Snyder on
 June 25, 2024

Federal Appeals Court Blocks Biden's Title IX Guidance on Gender Identity

A federal appeals court has blocked the Biden administration's 2021 Title IX guidance aimed at protecting gender identity and sexual orientation under Title IX.

According to The Post Millenial, the court's decision supports 20 Republican-led states that argued the guidance violated state laws and the Administrative Procedures Act.

In 2021, the Biden administration announced new Title IX guidelines to expand protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity. These guidelines also aimed to penalize schools that barred transgender-identifying students from using bathrooms or participating in sports based on their gender identity.

20 States Challenge Biden's Title IX Changes

Twenty Republican-led states quickly filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These states had pre-existing bans on transgender-identifying athletes competing on teams aligning with their gender identity rather than their biological sex.

On June 14, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a preliminary injunction against the guidance, siding with the 20 states. The states argued that the guidance infringed on First Amendment rights and interfered with state laws by threatening to withhold education funding from non-compliant schools.

The three-judge panel stated that the Department of Education likely violated the Administrative Procedures Act by not following the required notice-and-comment rules.

Preliminary Injunctions and Legal Challenges

Earlier in June, District Court Judge Terry A. Doughty placed a preliminary injunction on enforcing these rules in Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, and Idaho. Judge Doughty argued that the expansion of Title IX exceeded its original intent.

Judge Doughty stated, “Title IX was enacted for the protection of the discrimination of biological females. However, the final rule may likely cause biological females more discrimination than they had before Title IX was enacted.”

Additionally, a federal judge in Texas, Reed O’Connor, also blocked the enforcement of the guidance in his state. Judge O’Connor found that the Department of Education exceeded its authority with the original guidance.

Judicial Opinions on Title IX Guidance

Judge Reed O’Connor emphasized, “Nothing in the statute expressly prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or other unexpressed grounds.” He further stated, “And where Title IX allows for differentiation based on sex due to biological differences — such as intimate facilities and athletic teams — recipients may treat persons in accordance with their biological sex without regard to subjective gender identity.”

Judge O’Connor concluded, “Title IX explicitly appreciates the innate biological variation between men and women that occasionally warrants differentiation — and even separation — to preserve educational opportunities and to promote respect for both sexes.”

The federal appeals court ruling is a significant setback for the Biden administration's efforts to expand Title IX protections. The decision underscores the ongoing legal battles over the rights of transgender students in schools and the broader interpretation of Title IX.

Implications for Schools and Transgender Students

The court's ruling exempts schools in 20 states from complying with the Biden administration's 2021 Title IX guidance, impacting transgender students' rights to use facilities and participate in sports. Legal battles are expected to continue as federal and state laws clash, and the Biden administration may pursue further judicial review. This decision highlights the ongoing national debate on transgender rights and the role of government in educational policies.

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