Friday, October 21, 2016

Court Clarifies and Refuses To Narrow Injunction Against Federal Transgender Guidelines

As previously reported, in August a Texas federal district court issued a nationwide preliminary injunction preventing the federal government, particularly the Department of Education, from enforcing Guidelines issued earlier this year interpreting Title IX as barring discrimination by schools on the basis of gender identity. Now in State of Texas v. United States, (ND TX, Oct. 18, 2016), the court issued an opinion responding to a request for clarification and narrowing of the injunction.  The court refused to limit the injunction to the 13 states that are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, saying:
A nationwide injunction is necessary because the alleged violation extends nationwide.
The court also clarified that the injunction does not impact the EEOC's functions or activities other than preventing it from using the challenged Guidelines to argue that the definition of  "sex" as it relates to intimate facilities includes gender identity. The court ordered additional briefing by the parties on whether the Guidelines are enjoined in total or whether the principle of severability applies to them; whether the injunction impacts Title VII investigations when teachers or staff and students use the same bathrooms; and whether the injunction applies to activities of OSHA or the Department of Labor.  Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a press release on the decision.