In recent weeks, there have been reports that the Trump White House planned to drop its defense of a controversial Obama-era directive that required public schools to extend Title IX protections to transgender students, in an effort to ensure their ability to use the bathroom of their gender identity as opposed to the bathroom of their assigned sex at birth. We now may be getting more details about what exactly the Trump plan may look like.
There is now a draft copy of a document circulating that shows the potential Trump administration reasoning for backing off the Obama policy regarding transgender bathroom use. The Obama administration’s contends that Title IX prohibits the discrimination on the “basis of sex” to include a requirement that facilities provide people access to bathrooms based on the sex with which they identify, not their biological sex. Trump’s administration apparently disagrees.
The memo discusses the apparent split between the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that determined the word “sex” is ambiguous and a federal court in Texas that ruled “sex” unambiguously refers to biological sex, given at birth.
The matter was expected to be heard by the Supreme Court before the Trump administration withdrew its support. At a press conference on Wednesday, before the new document was leaked, press secretary Sean Spicer confirmed reports from last week that the administration instructed the Department of Justice to drop its defense of the Obama interpretation.
NBC News reporter Hallie Jackson also asked Spicer at the press conference why and when this decision to not defend the Obama administration order became a “priority” for the Trump White House.
Jackson noted, after all, Trump had said on the campaign trail that Caitlyn Jenner could use whatever restroom she wanted in Trump Tower.
Spicer rejected the notion, and explained that it only came up recently because a hearing was scheduled in a court case that was started by the Obama administration before they left office — the above referenced cases. Spicer explained that things had reached a point where the White House had to provide guidance to the Department of Justice about whether to defend the Obama administration policy and the decision was made to not do so.
Spicer explained that the administration believes there are problems with the Obama administration interpretations of “sex” under Title IX and he implied the Texas court’s reasoning was far more persuasive. He also went a bit further stating that the administration does not believe Title IX covers transgender rights.
“There are problems in both the legal and process way in which[Obama’s] guidance was issued,” Spicer explained. “And so it is incumbent on us to actually follow the law and to recognize that Title IX . . . was exacted in 1972. There was no discussion about this back then and to assume certain elements of the law were thought about back then with respect to this are completely preposterous.”
Spicer added later in the press conference that further guidance on this specific issue would be released later today and he shot down rumors that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos opposed the move. Spicer also reiterated earlier comments that one believed this matter was a states’ rights issue.
This is a breaking story and LawNewz will provide additional updates soon.