The Great Bathroom Wars of the 21st century are back on hold as of this week. Ever since Barack Obama issued executive mandates earlier this year dictating that schools and federal facilities must allow men in women’s bathrooms, locker rooms and showers if they “identify” as females, more than a dozen states have been in open revolt against the orders. A Texas court had previously issued an injunction barring the rules from going into effect and on Tuesday that order was affirmed yet again by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Austin, Texas. As expected, the White House is moving to appeal the decision. (Star-Telegram)
The Obama administration on Thursday filed notice that it will appeal a Texas federal judge’s ruling that temporarily blocked new federal guidelines directing public schools to accommodate transgender students, including allowing them to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity.
Federal officials say they will ask the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a preliminary injunction issued by Fort Worth-based U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor. On Tuesday, O’Connor reaffirmed that his ruling blocking the guidelines applied nationwide, not just in the 13 states that filed suit against the federal government.
O’Connor issued the original ruling in August on the same day millions of Texas children headed back to school, preventing the federal government from enforcing the guidelines as the case went through the courts.
Advocates of traditional privacy considerations might find this to be a victory, but it’s important to note that this ruling does nothing to address the underlying questions regarding “gender identity” or the legality of the White House mandates. This was strictly a procedural ruling on Judge O’Connor’s part. He specified that there were issues with the fact that the White House “had not followed proper rule-making procedure” when issuing the order and that the courts would need to weigh in on the underlying questions of propriety.
On the plus side, it was also reaffirmed that this decision applied to the entire country, not just the 13 states currently challenging the President in court. That means that not only can’t the rules be enforced in federal buildings, but that schools can not have their federal funding held hostage for failing to comply with this new, highly distorted “evolution” of Title IX. That’s an important issue because this sort of federal blackmail process could have forced many schools into an untenable position.
What we really need from the courts – and most likely the Supreme Court sooner rather than later – is a two part ruling. First there is the legal jargon question as to whether or not the definition of “sex” when applied to allegations of discrimination can be unilaterally expanded to include “gender identity” at the whim of the White House. But before the courts can speak to that it seems that they will have to get off the fence and declare whether or not “gender” is something which can be separated from person’s biological sex in defiance of science. If they agree to that premise than all hope is essentially lost because the silliness of these Social Justice Warrior fights over political correctness run amok will have infected the system at the highest levels.
For now we continue to wait. And until the final seat on the Supreme Court is filled we may not even see the question taken up.