On Wednesday the Trump administration – to the delight of many parents and conservatives – rolled back the Obama administration's directive on allowing transgender students to use bathrooms of the opposite biological sex.
President Donald Trump has reversed his predecessor's policy requiring the nation's public schools to allow boys who say they are transgender to use restrooms, changing rooms, and showers set aside for girls. Former President Barack Obama issued that guidance in May and led to a spate of lawsuits over how it should be applied.
Jonathan Saenz of Texas Values tells OneNewsNow that last year's policy change was a distorted application of federal law. "The Obama administration radically distorted a federal law [Title IX] that was intended to equalize educational opportunities for women and misused the law to open students' private facilities to members of the opposite sex," says the attorney.
Title IX, he says, wasn't designed to put gender-confused students on an equal par with the opposite sex.
A female high school student in Virginia brought a lawsuit seeking to use boys' facilities. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in that case on March 28. Saenz says regardless of the outcome of that case, there will be related issued that won't get settled.
"Usually the Supreme Court takes a very narrow pathway on some of these things," he explains, "but instead of waiting just to see if the Supreme Court's going to rule in our favor – [and] we know what that roll of the dice can be like – I think where the power lies is with the people; and that power is with their state legislatures that can act now."
Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, was asked if the Trump administration's reversal will have any impact on his firm's lawsuit against a California transgender law.
"It will weaken the pending case before the Supreme Court addressing this issue – and that case has the possibility of impacting California," he says. "But that's only if the Supreme Court is very broad in its decision and rules on the basis of privacy, which isn't as likely as other possible more narrow holdings."
Just prior to the start of school last year, a federal judge in Texas put in place an injunction stopping the implementation of the Obama administration's directive. Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Matt Sharp says the Trump administration's decision sends a clear message that the injunction won't be overturned.
"It's a clear statement that the federal government wants schools to have the authority they've always had under Title IX – and that they're not going to be at risk of losing millions, if not billions, in federal funding over this issue," says Sharp.
He says the rescission of the Obama mandate will put the decision regarding policies on bathroom usage by transgender students back where it belongs – with the states that will be accountable to the people, the parents, and the students impacted by those decisions.
"So while we hope every state would do the right thing and provide broad protections for privacy, we do think there are some constitutional rights that they have to keep in mind as they're adopting these policies," Sharp concludes.
Texas is considering a privacy act to resolve the problem in law.