Second Federal Court Halts Biden’s ‘Arbitrary’ Title IX Change That Expands Protections to Transgender Students

A group who worked on the lawsuit says the Title IX changes will threaten the safety and privacy of women and girls across America.

AP/Ron Edmonds, file
James Madison University students rally outside the Department of Education at Washington in 2006. AP/Ron Edmonds, file

A second federal district court judge has halted the implementation of President Biden’s new Title IX rules that add anti-discrimination protections for transgender students. The judge says the “arbitrary” Department of Education decision interprets the statute too broadly to allow transgender students to participate in sports that do not align with their sex. 

A U.S. district judge of the Eastern District of Kentucky, Danny Reeves, called the regulation “arbitrary in the truest sense of the word.” The rule will no longer take effect in six states: Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, and West Virginia.

A group involved in the lawsuit, titled State of Tennessee v. Cardona, says the “unlawful” interpretation of the Education Amendments of 1972, specifically Title IX, represents a threat to women’s and girls’ sports. 

“The Biden administration’s radical redefinition of ‘sex’ will upend the equal opportunities that women and girls have enjoyed for 50 years under Title IX and will threaten their safety and privacy at every level,” the Alliance Defending Freedom’s senior counsel, Hal Frampton, said in a statement. “The court was right to halt the administration’s illegal efforts to rewrite Title IX while this critical lawsuit continues.” 

Mr. Frampton argued before Judge Reeves that the ADF’s client, a 15-year-old West Virginia girl, was displaced by a biological male student at a track-and-field meet, taking her rightful spot at the conference championship.

“The male athlete was also given access to the girls’ locker room, and the client had to endure vulgar, sexual comments that the athlete directed at her. The male athlete has finished ahead of almost 300 female competitors in three years of competition on the girls’ team,” the ADF said.

“Our female athlete client has already suffered the humiliation and indignity of being harassed by a male student in the locker room and on her sports team. No one else should have to go through that,” the ADF continued.

Mr. Frampton and the ADF were joined in their lawsuit by several Republican state attorneys general. Tennessee’s attorney general, Jonathan Skrmetti, said of the ruling, “Another big Tennessee WIN.”

Kentucky’s attorney general, Russell Coleman, said, “As a parent and as Attorney General, I joined this effort to protect our women and girls from harm. Today’s ruling recognized the 50-plus years of educational opportunities Title IX has created for students and athletes,”

Judge Reeves said in his decision that “despite society’s enduring recognition of biological differences between the sexes … the Final Rule mandates that schools permit biological men into women’s intimate spaces, and women into men’s. … This result is not only impossible to square with Title IX but with the broader guarantee of education protection for all students.”

The ruling from Kentucky followed another from a federal judge in Louisiana who suspended the same Title IX rule change in four other states: Montana, Idaho, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Judge Terry Doughty wrote on Thursday that the Biden administration overreached in expanding the protections intended for girls’ sports to include biologically male students. 

“This case demonstrates the abuse of power by executive federal agencies in the rulemaking process,” Judge Doughty wrote. “The separation of powers and system of checks and balances exist in this country for a reason.”


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