Following North Carolina’s HB2 law, requiring everyone in North Carolina to use bathrooms consistent with their biological sex, the Department of Justice (DOJ) threatened North Carolina legislators. In response, North Carolina sued the DOJ.
The same week the lawsuit was filed, the DOJ and the Department of Education issued a “guidance letter” on May 13, 2016, mandating all public schools to make their bathrooms “transgender” and/or “gender neutral.” Along with the guidance, came a threat. If public schools in all 50 states didn’t comply with this edict, each state could expect to receive less– or no federal education money, which neither agency has the authority to do.
In response, 12 states are fighting back, citing the Tenth Amendment, and the Constitution, and the Civil Rights Act– arguing such a mandate is illegal. Sen. Ben Sasse was one of the first to point out the obvious.
Has our Constitutional Law Professor-President ever read the 9th and 10th Amendments?
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) May 13, 2016
Texas governor Greg Abbott, who was followed by several other governors, affirmed that his state’s public schools will not comply.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 13, 2016
Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson told his schools to completely ignore Obama’s edict. He tweeted:
— Gov. Asa Hutchinson (@AsaHutchinson) May 13, 2016
Alabama’s Attorney General called Obama’s order, “absurd,” vowing to fight it.
Alabama AG Luther Strange vows to fight 'absurd' Obama order on transgender school bathrooms https://t.co/VnCUcZ6jSz
— AL.com (@aldotcom) May 13, 2016
“By inserting itself into North Carolina’s lawmaking, the Obama Justice Department is overstepping its authority in violation of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. It justifies this overreach by unilaterally redefining federal anti-discrimination law, something only Congress has the authority to do. We saw this on the local level in February when the full force of the federal government was unleashed in a similar way on the city of Ferguson. The DOJ told Ferguson officials they could either accept an agreement the city couldn’t afford, or fight a lawsuit they couldn’t afford.
“This issue goes way beyond North Carolina. It is an unprecedented assault on our privacy and safety. This DOJ will not stop in North Carolina. By targeting this one state, the Obama Administration has telegraphed what it intends to do to any state that tries to protect its residents’ right to privacy against a far-left radical agenda.”
Kentucky governor Matt Bevin also commented on the absurdity of Obama’s mandate:
“It is difficult to imagine a more absurd federal overreach into a local issue. Under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the federal government has no authority to interfere in local school districts’ bathroom policies. The President is not promoting unity. In fact, he is doing quite the opposite. He is intentionally dividing America by threatening to sue or withhold funding from our cash-strapped public schools if they do not agree with his personal opinion on policies that remain squarely in their jurisdiction. They should not feel compelled to bow to such intimidation. My administration is researching the options available for ensuring that this local issue is decided by Kentuckians, not by bureaucrats in Washington.”
North Carolina, Texas, and six other states (W.V., AZ, KS, NE, UT, ME) within 24 hours joined an appeal to a court case in which the judge ruled in favor of a Virginia transgender girl being able to use the boy’s bathrooms. Joining Kentucky, Missouri, Alabama, and Arkansas, these states’ leaders have no problem identifying and rejecting an obvious abuse of federal government overreach that violates the Constitution.