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State of Arkansas v. U.S. Department of Education

Description:  The Biden administration’s unlawful attempt to rewrite Title IX threatens teachers and students’ privacy, safety, fairness, and free speech.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

ST. LOUIS – Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin, together with attorneys general from five other states and Alliance Defending Freedom, filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Biden administration for its attempt to rewrite Title IX, a federal law designed to create equal opportunities for students in education and athletics. In the case, State of Arkansas v. U.S. Department of Education, ADF attorneys represent Amelia Ford, a female high school athlete from Arkansas. This is now the third legal action ADF attorneys have brought to stop the administration’s illegal Title IX efforts.

Following the publication of the administration’s rule on April 29, the states of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota filed suit, challenging the administration’s attempt to redefine “sex” in federal law to include “gender identity.” This effort to rewrite federal law jeopardizes privacy, safety, free speech, and fairness for students and teachers.

“The overwhelming majority of Americans see the Biden administration’s rule change for what it is: a ridiculous, nonsensical, and illegal election-year move that few can comprehend or support. It’s outrageous,” Griffin said. “Congress enacted Title IX to protect and promote opportunities for women and girls in education and sports. For the last half century, that’s what it has done. But President Biden and his Department of Education now want to radically reinterpret Title IX and recast it as a rule about gender identity. That contravenes Title IX’s plain language, and it violates the Constitution. That’s why we’re challenging it, and it’s also why we’re confident the federal courts will set aside this unlawful regulation. I am proud to stand with my fellow attorneys general and one of my constituents against President Biden’s latest attempt to push forward by fiat what Congress never passed into law and to defend the laws we’ve passed in Arkansas to protect female athletes.”

“Joe Biden is once again exceeding his constitutional authority, this time to put a radical transgender ideology ahead of the safety of women and girls,” Bailey said. “As the father of a young daughter, I take this personally. The Biden Administration has threatened to hold federal funding hostage from any institution who rejects this unconstitutional and sexist rule. I’m filing suit because I will not allow federal bureaucrats to subject Missouri girls to unsafe conditions in order to push a radical transgender ideology.”

“The Biden administration’s radical redefinition of sex won’t just rewire our educational system. It means girls will be forced to undress in front of boys in gym class and locker rooms, girls will share bedrooms with boys on overnight school trips, teachers and students will have to refrain from speaking truthfully about biological sex and girls will lose their right to fair competition in sports,” said ADF Legal Counsel Rachel Rouleau. “The administration continues to ignore biological reality, science, and commonsense, and women are suffering as a result. We are urging the court to allow states to protect fairness, safety, privacy, and free speech for every student and teacher.”

Ford is a tenth-grade student at Brookland High School, a public school in Brookland, Arkansas that is bound by Title IX. The attorneys explain in the lawsuit that Ford cannot promote gender ideology by using inaccurate pronouns that contradict someone’s sex because doing so violates her religious beliefs. Ford wants to use the female-designated restrooms, showers, and locker rooms at her school, to share hotel rooms only with females during overnight trips with her school, and to feel safe knowing that boys who identify as girls are not allowed to use these areas. Ford also competes on the girls’ basketball team at Brookland High and does not want to compete against and lose her chance at fair competition to a male who identifies as female. Like many girls, Ford wants fair athletic competition and will suffer deep distress and embarrassment by sharing girls-only spaces with males.

In the past week, ADF attorneys have initiated two other similar legal actions challenging the administration’s unlawful attempt to rewrite Title IX. In Rapides Parish School Board v. U.S. Department of Education, ADF attorneys represent a Louisiana school board serving more than 20,000 students and in State of Tennessee v. Cardona, ADF attorneys asked a federal district court to allow A.C., a high-school athlete from West Virginia, and Christian Educators Association International to join a lawsuit suing the Biden administration. A.C. has already lost key opportunities to a male student on her track team and had to endure that student’s vulgar sexual comments while on the team. Christian Educators now face threats to their free speech and right to access sex-specific spaces like bathrooms.

The attorneys filed this new lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, St. Louis Division.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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ABOUT Rachel Rouleau

Rachel Rouleau serves as legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is a member of the Center for Conscience Initiatives. Rouleau joined the Conscience Team in 2020, where she focuses on protecting the conscience rights of individuals being unjustly forced to compromise their beliefs under threat of heavy fines and punishment. Prior to that, she was a First Year Lawyer Fellow in ADF’s new fellowship program. Rouleau earned her J.D. from William and Mary Law School in 2019. She obtained her B.A. in political science from the University of Florida in 2015. She is a member of the Massachusetts bar.