UPDATE: 11 States Sue Obama Administration


Eleven states and state officials filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday challenging he Obama administration over federal guidance directing schools to provide transgender students with facilities that match their gender identities.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, states that this federal guidance “has no basis in law” and could cause “seismic changes in the operations of the nation’s school districts.”

The Obama administration’s guidance was outlined in a letter released this month by two federal agencies — the Justice Department and the Education Department — who said they were issuing it in response to questions from school districts and schools.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Wednesday.

This lawsuit — which bears the names of nine states as well as a governor and another state’s education department — is the first filed in response to the administration’s letter. While some politicians, parents, elected officials and school districts embraced the directive, others aggressively argued against it and said the administration was overstepping its authority.

After the guidance was made public, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, R, said that his state would fight the letter because Obama is “not a king.” Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, accused Obama of trying to “bully Texas schools into allowing men to have open access to girls in bathrooms” and vowed a legal fight.

Last week, Paxton and the attorneys general of two other states — Oklahoma and West Virginia –wrote to the agencies that issued the guidance questioning whether states could lose federal funding if they don’t follow the letter.

Paxton is holding a news conference Wednesday to discuss a lawsuit filed by the state, but had not released any additional information.

Texas is joined in the lawsuit by Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah and Georgia as well as the Arizona Department of Education and Maine Gov. Paul LePage, R. In addition, two school districts — one in Texas, the other in Arizona — are also included.

The suit was filed against the Justice Department, the Education Department, the Labor Department and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as well as officials with these departments.

The Obama administration’s guidance came just days after the Justice Department and North Carolina filed dueling lawsuits centered on a law in that state banning transgender people from using bathrooms that don’t match the gender on their birth certificates.

(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Mark Berman

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