A Trump-appointed Tennessee federal judge has overruled Democrat President Joe Biden and is blocking his administration’s new transgender bathroom rule.
U.S. District Judge Charles Atchley Jr. blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a recent executive order that allowed transgender workers and students to use restrooms matching their “gender identities” rather than their biological sex.
Judge Atchley issued a preliminary injunction temporarily stopping the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from enforcing the anti-discrimination executive order.
The order was issued by the Biden administration in January 2021.
The ruling comes after 20 Republican attorneys general sued last year.
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III was joined by his colleagues in 19 Republican states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia.
“The court understands that a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy,” wrote Atchley.
“However, this case presents extraordinary circumstances.”
“At a minimum, (the Biden administration executive order and agencies’) guidance appears to deem conduct required by plaintiffs’ state laws to be unlawful sex discrimination under federal law,” Atchley wrote.
“(The administration) has vowed to enforce these statues consistent with the challenged guidance, and (the Biden administration and agencies) do not dispute that an enforcement action puts (states) at risk of losing substantial federal funding.”
“The loss of such critical federal funding would require Tennessee to eliminate certain educational services or seek new funding sources to continue offering the same programs.
“Therefore, as it currently stands, (states, including Tennessee) must choose between the threat of legal consequences — enforcement action, civil penalties, and the withholding of federal funding — or altering their state laws to ensure compliance with the guidance and avoid such adverse action.
“(The Biden administration and agencies’) guidance documents presently harm plaintiff states by undermining their sovereign authority to enforce their state laws as written and imposing substantial pressure on (states) to change their state laws.
“(States) must either forgo the enforcement of their conflicting state laws to comply with the allegedly unlawful guidance or violate the guidance and risk significant legal consequences.
“This is an untenable choice,” he wrote.
Slatery praised the ruling in a statement, saying:
“Keep in mind these new, transformative rules were made without you, without your elected leaders in Congress having a say, which is what the law requires.
“We are thankful the court put a stop to it, maintained the status quo as the lawsuit proceeds, and reminded the federal government it cannot direct its agencies to rewrite the law.”
According to The Tennessee Lookout:
The Biden executive order came after a June 2020 landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that expanded the legal definition of sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity in employment situations.
Citing the high court’s decision, the Biden administration directed federal agencies to enact rules that specifically prohibited sex discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In June 2021, the Department of Education and EEOC, in turn, issued “guidance documents,” prohibiting such discrimination and promising enforcement action against violators, including the loss of federal funding for schools.
According to Fox News:
The states also argued the Biden administration’s Justice Department, the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — the defendants in the case — improperly justified the bathroom directive through the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County.
In the case, Clayton County fired county employee Gerald Bostock for “unbecoming” behavior after he participated in a gay recreational softball league.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2020, that workplace sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should extend to sexual orientation and gender identity.