Texas announced Wednesday that it was joining ten other states in suing the Justice Department and Department of Education over the administration’s transgender bathroom policy. However, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that is impossible because they will lack standing in court.
“The Supreme Court has made clear that one cannot sue an agency just because they disagree with the agency’s guidance,” the ACLU said in a press release Wednesday. “If these attorneys general disagree with the agency’s interpretation of what the federal ban on sex discrimination means, they can make that argument to the court when it arises in a real case.”
Instead, the ACLU said that this is nothing more than a “political stunt” from conservative states.
James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT Project said the Texas-based lawsuit is “an attack… on transgender Americans, plain and simple.” He also believes “the real targets here are vulnerable young people and adults who simply seek to live their lives free from discrimination when they go to school, work or the restroom.”
In his press conference today, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton refused to acknowledge if he thinks transgender children exist and he couldn’t answer whether transgender people commit sexual assaults at a higher rate than non-transgender people.
“Make no mistake,” said Paxton. “This is no reinterpretation of terms. It’s an entire rewrite of law, and that is constitutionally the purview of the Congress, not the President of the United States.”
The ACLU commented, there “have been no disruptions, increases in public safety incidents, nor invasions of privacy related to protections for transgender people. The federal agencies named in this lawsuit have not changed existing obligations under the law. Our civil rights laws, including Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, have long prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex, and federal courts and agencies have long recognized that this includes protections for transgender people.”
One state joining the lawsuit is Oklahoma, which announced a $1.3 billion budget shortfall this year. It is unclear how much money this lawsuit will take from the state’s budget. The state legislature had a bathroom bill similar to the one North Carolina passed, but it was voted down after chambers of commerce in the state begged legislators not to out of fear the state would lose substantial money.
“As we face a budget crisis unprecedented in size and scope, it is unconscionable to consider a measure that would so greatly impact the financial well-being of our schools and so deeply hurt transgender Oklahomans,” Troy Stevenson, Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director said in a statement.