Eric Owens – February 13, 2017
A motion filed in federal court by the Justice Department on Friday suggests that newly-minted Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reassessing a vague Obama administration order allowing transgender students in America’s public schools to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice.
The Justice Department’s new motion in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seeks permission to delay a hearing on a previous motion — filed last year — which had asked the court to ease a preliminary injunction by federal district judge Reed O’Connor striking down Obama administration guidance about bathroom and shower use in taxpayer-funded schools.
The Obama administration guidance, sent in May, instructed public school districts across the country to allow transgender students to choose bathrooms and shower stalls consistent with their gender identity, not their biological features. “A school’s failure to treat students consistent with their gender identity may create or contribute to a hostile environment in violation of Title IX,” the guidance said, in reference to the 1972 federal law banning gender discrimination in education.
The U.S. Department of Justice motion to delay came just one day after Sessions was sworn as President Donald Trump’s attorney general.