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Federal Judge Halts Biden's Title IX Gender Identity Expansion in Four States

 June 15, 2024

In a significant judicial intervention, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty issued a preliminary injunction blocking President Joe Biden's recent expansion of Title IX protections to include gender identity in Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, and Idaho.

Fox News reported that the injunction disrupts the administration's efforts to broaden the scope of sex discrimination under Title IX to encompass gender identity and sexual orientation.

Last Thursday, Judge Doughty's decision presented a stark challenge to the administration's interpretation of Title IX, which traditionally protected against discrimination based on biological sex.

The ruling explicitly impacts educational institutions in the four states and comes ahead of the intended August 1 application date for the new rules.

Background of Title IX and Recent Changes

Title IX is a cornerstone civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal assistance. Recently, the Biden administration attempted to expand the definition of sex discrimination within this law to include considerations of gender identity and sexual orientation.

This expansion would allow LGBTQ+ students who encounter discrimination to expect a response from their educational institution and potentially seek further recourse from the federal government should their institution fail to address their concerns adequately. The modifications also aimed to limit circumstances where schools could treat individuals differently based on sex.

However, Judge Doughty countered these modifications by asserting that at the time of Title IX's enactment, "gender discrimination" referred strictly to discrimination against biological males and females, not extending to gender identity or sexual orientation.

Legal Challenges and Judicial Criticism

The decision to issue an injunction stemmed from ongoing lawsuits against the Biden administration's Title IX amendments in several states. These include the four affected by Doughty's ruling. Legal challenges argue that the expansion constitutes an overreach of executive power in the rulemaking process.

"This case demonstrates the abuse of power by executive federal agencies in the rulemaking process," remarked Judge Doughty. He further criticized the unilateral changes as a "threat to democracy," stressing the necessity to adhere to the original legislative intentions of Title IX.

In his ruling, Doughty stressed the importance of maintaining the original scope of the law, thus labeling the recent changes as inadmissible. According to him, these changes deviated significantly from the initially established parameters of Title IX.

The Implication of the Injunction

The judicial block sets a precedent that could influence other pending cases and future interpretations of Title IX. Educational institutions in the affected states will now wait to see if the injunction holds through the ongoing legal battles.

This pivotal decision not only stalls the administration's ambitious agenda to reshape federal civil rights protections but also sends a strong message regarding the judicial perspective on the limits of executive power in education policy.

As the legal processes continue, schools and policymakers closely monitor developments, understanding that the outcome could significantly affect students nationwide, particularly those within the LGBTQ+ community seeking greater protections under federal law.