Pending Regs

White House defends transgender rules blocked by judge

Greg Nash

The White House on Monday voiced support for the administration’s directive for public schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms based on the gender with which they identify after they were was blocked by a federal judge.

“The primary goal in offering this guidance was to ensure a safe educational environment for all students,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Monday.

{mosads}“We’ve got a lot of confidence in the guidance that was put forward,” including its “legal basis,” Earnest said, adding he respected the decision on the part of the judge but would refer to the Department of Justice for next steps in the case.

“It certainly was not a mandate,” Earnest noted, saying it was critics outside the administration who described it as such. He directed questions to the Department of Justice for next steps on the legal battle.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Texas ruled Sunday that the administration failed to follow the Administrative Procedures Act requiring the federal government to allow for comments on proposed rules, at least temporarily blocking it.

The ruling is a win for Texas and 12 other states that sought to block the Obama administration’s directive from taking effect. 

The departments of Justice and Education issued the directive in May, saying schools shouldn’t allow for discrimination against transgender students.

Schools would be required to provide transgender students with “equal access to educational programs and activities” even if parents or other students object, according to the proposed rule.

Tags Josh Earnest transgender rights
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