Arkansas and Iowa AGs Join Lawsuit Challenging Biden's Title IX Changes

Arkansas and Iowa attorneys general join lawsuit against Biden administration over changes to Title IX, claiming new rules are illegal and unconstitutional. The lawsuit, filed in Missouri and Oklahoma federal courts, seeks to stop the rule's effective date of August 1, 2024.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Arkansas and Iowa AGs Join Lawsuit Challenging Biden's Title IX Changes

Arkansas and Iowa AGs Join Lawsuit Challenging Biden's Title IX Changes

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin and Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird have joined four other state attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against the Biden administration over its changes to Title IX, a landmark 1972 sex discrimination law. The lawsuit, filed in federal courts in Missouri and Oklahoma, claims that the changes are illegal and unconstitutional.

Why this matters: The outcome of this lawsuit could have far-reaching implications for the rights of transgender students across the United States, potentially affecting their access to education and opportunities. This legal challenge also highlights the ongoing debate over the balance between individual rights and state authority in shaping policies on gender identity and discrimination.

The Biden administration's new regulation seeks to protect the rights of transgender students in the nation's schools by clarifying that Title IX bars discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The regulation applies to all schools that receive federal funding.

The lawsuit argues that the new federal rules go beyond the intent of Title IX and that the Biden administration doesn't have the authority to implement them. "The interpretation of the Biden administration is completely inconsistent with the statute and the way it's been interpreted for decades," stated Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin.

The 60-page lawsuit claims the education department has exceeded its authority by rewriting the statute, violating the First Amendment, and being arbitrary and capricious. It also alleges that the rule redefines sex to include gender identity, presenting an actual controversy.

The lawsuit mentions a 15-year-old basketball player, Amelia Ford, who is a named plaintiff and expressed concerns about transgender students joining girls' sports teams and using the same bathroom and locker room facilities. "You don't just become a girl by what you feel or by what you think. The government should not force us to disregard common sense and reality," Ford stated.

North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley, another plaintiff in the lawsuit, argued that "The actions of the Biden administration very obviously exceed what their authority is under the law and, in fact, change the promise of Title IX, which was put in place in 1973 by the elected Congress."

The lawsuit cites three North Dakota laws approved in 2023 that prohibit transgender girls and women from joining female sports teams, require the use of biological sex-based pronouns, and mandate separate dormitory restrooms and showers for males and females.

In addition to Arkansas and Iowa, the attorneys general from Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri have joined the lawsuit. This brings the total number of GOP states challenging the new rules to at least 21.

The coalition is seeking a declaration that the rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act, vacatur, a stay of the rule's effective date, a preliminary and permanent injunction barring enforcement of the rule in the plaintiff states, and any other relief that the court deems just and proper. The lawsuit aims to stop the federal rule's effective date of August 1, 2024.