Montana Challenges President’s Decree on School Restroom & Locker Facilities


Montana Challenges President’s Decree on School Restroom & Locker Facilities

Today, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox and 9 other states filed an action in federal court challenging the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent decree changing current Title IX law regarding how schools assign students to showers, locker rooms, and restroom facilities.

“President Obama’s duty is to faithfully execute laws, not rewrite them,” Fox said. “He cannot enact by decree what Congress has specifically rejected. That’s precisely what he is attempting to do here.”

Current state law and federal regulations allow schools to maintain separate facilities based upon sex. The recent action by these two federal agencies to require showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms be open to both sexes based solely on the student’s choice, circumvents this established law by ignoring the appropriate legislative process necessary to change such a law. It also supersedes local school districts’ authority to address student issues on an individualized, professional and private basis. When a federal agency takes such unilateral action in an attempt to change the meaning of established law, it leaves state and local authorities with no other option than to pursue legal clarity in federal court in order to enforce the rule of law.

“President Obama’s administration is attempting to usurp local control of our schools – not by signing legislation passed by Congress, not by the agency rule-making process, and not even by executive order,” Fox added. “Instead, the administration has issued a decree and is threatening our schools using flawed interpretations of longstanding law. The administration is attempting to force schools to adopt policies that have been specifically rejected by Congress and that even directly contradict a prior position of the U.S. Department of Justice. Unfortunately, this is only the most recent example of overreach from President Obama’s administration. Like other actions before it, this is an affront to the rule of law, and consequently Montana and other states are once again forced to hold the administration accountable.”

Montana was joined today by the following states: Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming. There are now a total of 23 states challenging this decree in federal court.

Today’s filing is available online here.

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