Monday, May 09, 2016

North Carolina Sues Feds In Transgender Bathroom Dispute

As previously reported, last week the U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory warning that compliance with North Carolina's recently enacted House Bill 2 on transgender bathroom access places the state in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and threatens millions of dollars in federal funding.  The letter called for a response from the state by today.  As reported by the Washington Post, this morning Gov. McCrory filed suit against the federal government challenging its interpretation of the federal civil rights laws.  The complaint (full text) in McCrory v. United States, (ED NC, filed 5/9/2016) asserts that the Justice Department's position constitutes "a baseless and blatant overreach."  It argues in part:
This is an attempt to unilaterally rewrite long-established federal civil rights laws in a manner that is wholly inconsistent with the intent of Congress and disregards decades of statutory interpretation  by the Courts. The overwhelming weight of legal authority recognizes that transgender status is not a protected class under Title VII. If the United States desires a new protected class under Title VII, it must seek such action by the United States Congress.... Moreover, the Department has similarly overreached in its interpretation of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (“VAWA”).
The University of North Carolina, which was also warned by the Justice Department in connection with its obligations under Title IX, was not one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.