Trump-appointed judge blocks Biden administration’s Title IX protections for transgender students

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A federal judge halted the Education Department’s Title IX guidance, which ensures protections against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Charles Atchley, a Trump-appointed judge in the Eastern District of Tennessee, ruled on Friday that the measures infringe on states’ rights, siding with the argument led by a coalition of more than 20 GOP attorneys general.

The attorneys general, led by Tennessee’s Herbert Slatery, said they risked losing federal funding over their restrictions in place, and that rules to force schools to use transgender students’ pronouns violated the First Amendment.

“As it currently stands, plaintiffs 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,” Mr. Atchley wrote.

The move signals a blow to the Biden administration’s efforts to shore up support for transgender Americans and expand LGBT protections.

Last month, the Biden administration announced sweeping changes to federal rules that would extend Title IX’s discrimination measures to enhance protections for transgender students. Currently, Title IX does not extend its protections to transgender individuals. 

The administration also said it would reverse the Trump administration’s mandates around sexual misconduct, including provisions that ordered schools to presume accused students of innocence until a resolution had been made in the grievance procedures.

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