Lawsuit defends states from federal regulatory overreach and the unlawful interpretation of anti discrimination laws
Attorney General Alan Wilson, along with 19 other states led by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III, filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Tennessee today. The complaint seeks to stop the Biden Administration from enforcing new, expansive, and unlawful interpretations of federal antidiscrimination laws.
“This case is about two federal agencies changing law when only Congress has the power to do that,” Attorney General Wilson said. “The agencies do not have that authority, but that hasn’t stopped them from trying. However, even their unlawful attempts did not follow the Administrative Procedures Act.”
States repeatedly have challenged federal agencies on this issue and been successful. These agencies also have misconstrued the Supreme Court’s Bostock decision by claiming its prohibition of discrimination applies to locker rooms, showers, and bathrooms under Title IX and Title VII and transgender men competing in women’s sports, when the Supreme Court specifically said it was not deciding those issues in Bostock. All of this, together with the threat of withholding educational funding in the midst of a pandemic, warrants this lawsuit.
In the complaint, the multi-state coalition challenges federal guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Education (the Department) concerning issues of enormous importance. The guidance purports to resolve highly controversial and localized issues such as whether schools must allow biological males to compete on girls’ sports teams, whether employers and schools may maintain sex-separated showers and locker rooms, and whether individuals may be compelled to use another person’s preferred pronouns. The federal agencies claim that the guidance simply implements the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, but that decision did not address any of the issues covered by the guidance. The agencies have no authority to unilaterally resolve these sensitive questions, let alone to do so without providing the public with notice and an opportunity to comment.
The multi-state coalition asks the Court to declare the EEOC and Department guidance invalid and unlawful and to prohibit their enforcement.
Joining South Carolina and Tennessee on the lawsuit are the attorneys general from the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and West Virginia.