Lankford, Hartzler Led Amicus Brief Challenging Obama Administration’s Executive Overreach in Title IX Case

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) yesterday led over 100 Members of Congress in an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court regarding a case in which a local school district in Virginia was forced to change policies to accommodate the Department of Education’s overreaching reinterpretation of Title IX, G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board

Title IX is a portion of Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. 

The amicus brief argues: 1) The Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX to include “gender identity” is not entitled to interpretational deference to the agency; 2) Title IX’s prohibition of “sex” discrimination does not encompass “gender identity”; and 3) The Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX violates the spending clause, which requires the federal government to provide clear notice of the obligation that entities will endure before accepting federal funding.

“The guidance issued by the Department of Education through a ‘Dear Colleague letter’ was a clear overreach of the department’s authority and an abuse of guidance directives,” said Lankford. “As chairman of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, I have continued to follow the long pattern of how the administration tries to create law without going through the legislative process. We need to ensure all children are protected, but unelected federal bureaucrats should not make legislative policy behind closed doors. The Supreme Court’s consideration of this case is an appropriate check to ensure our country retains three equal branches of government.”

Hartzler, a vocal advocate for state and local control of the issue, asserted, “As I have said in the past, this misinterpretation not only threatens the safety and privacy of our students, it is also a gross overreach by the executive branch. Washington should not dictate basic policy to our school districts. This is yet another example of this administration going around the Constitution to enact its political agenda. Contrary to what this administration believes, one-size-fits-all policies are not the best solution to every issue. This is about making sure our students are protected. It’s about letting schools and local leaders to determine what’s best for their students, not Washington bureaucrats.”

Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), David Vitter (R-LA), David Perdue (R-GA) and 106 Members of the House of Representatives joined this amicus brief. 

The US Circuit Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in April ruled on G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, forcing a local Virginia school to comply with a Department of Education directive to change its policies regarding bathroom and locker room use by students. A stay on the ruling has been issued until the Supreme Court hears on the case. Twenty-four states, school boards, and groups of students and parents have also filed lawsuits against the Administration’s interpretation of discrimination law under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

The amicus brief can be found HERE