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The State of Tennessee v. United States Department of Education

Description:  The Association of Christian Schools International and three female athletes in Arkansas are asking a federal district court to allow them to intervene in a lawsuit that challenges the Biden administration’s reinterpretation of federal law that allows males to compete on female athletic teams. Twenty state attorneys general, led by the state of Tennessee, are challenging a guidance document issued by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that interprets Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits “discrimination on the basis of sex,” to bar discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Among other things, this would require that schools subject to Title IX allow males who identify as female to participate on female athletic teams and use female-designated showers and locker rooms.


Public school athlete Cate Ford
Tuesday, Nov 2, 2021

WHO: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys

WHAT: Available to media following hearing in The State of Tennessee v. U.S. Department of Education

WHEN: Immediately following hearing, which begins at 10 a.m. EDT, Wednesday, Nov. 3

WHERE: Hearing is taking place at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee (800 Market St., Suite 130, Knoxville). To schedule an interview, contact ADF Media Relations Manager AnnMarie Pariseau at (480) 417-3975.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing the Association of Christian Schools International and three female athletes in Arkansas will be available for media interviews Wednesday following a hearing in which they will ask a federal district court to allow ACSI and the female athletes to intervene in a lawsuit that challenges the Biden administration’s reinterpretation of federal law that allows males to compete on female athletic teams.

Twenty state attorneys general, led by the state of Tennessee, are challenging a guidance document issued by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that interprets Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits “discrimination on the basis of sex,” to bar discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Among other things, this would require that schools subject to Title IX allow males who identify as female to participate on female athletic teams and use female-designated showers and locker rooms.

“Anna, Cate, and Amelia—like every other American girl involved in sports—deserve the opportunity to compete on a safe and fair playing field against other female athletes,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs, who will argue before the court in favor of the intervention motion. “The Biden administration’s radical push to redefine sex in federal law threatens to erase women’s sports and eliminate the opportunities for women that Title IX was intended to protect. We’re asking the court to allow our clients’ voices to be heard at this critical moment in the protection of women’s sports.”

ACSI’s schools have approximately 500,000 students throughout the country. The ACSI schools compete against public schools that receive federal financial assistance and are required to adhere to the new federal mandate. This places Christian schools and their female athletes at a disadvantage because the public schools they compete against in athletic events would be required by the Biden administration to permit males to compete on female sports teams.

The three female athletes ADF attorneys represent are Arkansas public school students Anna Scarborough, Cate Ford, and Amelia Ford.

“The female athletes and ACSI seek to provide equal opportunities for women in athletics by maintaining sex-separated sports teams as guaranteed by Title IX,” the motion to intervene states. “The female athletes will show how allowing physiologically bigger, stronger, and faster biological males to compete in women’s sports personally harms their chance at fair competition and eliminates their ‘chance to be champions.’”

Andrew Fox, one of nearly 3,500 attorneys allied with ADF, is serving as local counsel in the case for ACSI and the female athletes.

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 Ryan Bangert

Ryan Bangert serves as senior counsel and vice president for legal strategy at Alliance Defending Freedom. He oversees the Center for Academic Freedom, the Center for Conscience Initiatives, and the regulatory litigation team, and assists ADF leadership with strategic initiatives. Before joining ADF, Bangert served as Deputy for Legal Counsel and Deputy First Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Texas Attorney General. In those roles, he oversaw the State’s Special Litigation Unit, which handled critical litigation against the federal government, and oversaw multiple divisions within the office, including the General Counsel Division and the Opinion Committee. Bangert also served as Deputy for Civil Litigation for Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, overseeing the state’s civil litigation portfolio and over 200 attorneys and staff. Prior to his government service, Bangert was a litigation partner at Baker Botts L.L.P., where he was a volunteer attorney for ADF and served as amicus counsel in numerous cases. Bangert earned his B.A. from Oral Roberts University, and his J.D. from Southern Methodist University, where he graduated first in his class. He participated in the Blackstone Legal Fellowship program in 2002. Following law school, he clerked for Judge Patrick Higginbotham on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Bangert is an active member of the Texas Bar and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and various federal trial courts and courts of appeal.

ABOUT Jonathan Scruggs

Jonathan Scruggs serves as senior counsel and director of the Center for Conscience Initiatives with Alliance Defending Freedom. In this role, Scruggs leads the team defending the constitutionally protected freedom of creative professionals to live out their faith in business and professional life without being subjected to government coercion, discrimination, or punishment. Since joining ADF in 2006, Scruggs has worked on and prevailed in a variety of cases that protect the right of people to freely express their faith in their school, in their business, and in the public square. He earned his J.D. at Harvard Law School and is admitted to practice in the states of Arizona and Tennessee. Scruggs is also admitted to multiple federal district and appellate courts.