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Red states rush to resist Biden's Title IX changes, setting up legal showdown

Changes rolled back Trump-era rules on student sexual-misconduct cases that raise the bar of proof for sexual misconduct, bolster the rights of the accused

Published: April 25, 2024 11:02pm

Updated: May 14, 2024 11:55am

Republican-led states from Oklahoma to Florida are refusing to comply with President Joe Biden's changes to Title IX rules governing women's education, forming a unified resistance almost certain to prompt an historic legal showdown.

Biden's Department of Education on April 19 expanded the definition of sex discrimination to include gender identity and pregnancy, rolling back Trump-era rules on student sexual-misconduct cases.

The finalization of the new rules came after months of delays. 

"This is one of the most egregious oversteps we've seen from the federal government to come in and redefine Title IX," Oklahoma schools Superintendent Ryan Walters, an elected Republican, said on the Thursday edition of the "Just the News, No Noise" TV show.

"So this means the federal government is threatening states. Joe Biden is threatening the states to have boys in girls' sports [and] boys in girls' bathrooms, and there's a third part of it too. They can now come after you for using the wrong pronoun."

Walters also said that Oklahoma would not comply with the new rules and is preparing to take legal action.

"Joe Biden is using the federal government to threaten the states to comply," he said. "I'm gonna tell you, we made it very clear to the federal government that we will not comply. I sent a letter to Secretary Cardona. I told him he should resign in disgrace over this. You couldn't see somebody more tone deaf than this radical president and his regime here."  

Walters said it was very likely that the state would be going to court with the Biden administration over the issue. 

"We're looking at all of our legal options," he said. "We've been working with other states ... There's absolutely going to be multiple legal opportunities for pushback here. We will be joining those cases. We will fight this in the courts."

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis likewise declared his state will not comply with the Title IX redefinition.

“Florida rejects Joe Biden’s attempt to rewrite Title IX. We will not comply, and we will fight back,” DeSantis said in a video posted to the social media platform, X. “We are not gonna let Joe Biden try to inject men into women’s activities. We are not gonna let Joe Biden undermine the rights of parents, and we are not gonna let Joe Biden abuse his constitutional authority to try to impose these policies on us here in Florida.” 

The Education Department says public schools that don't comply with the new regulations will not receiving federal funding.

“The Department of Education crafted the final Title IX regulations following a rigorous process to give complete effect to the Title IX statutory guarantee that no person experiences sex discrimination in federally funded education,” said an agency spokesperson, in a statement obtained by The Hill. “As a condition of receiving federal funds, all federally funded schools are obligated to comply with these final regulations and we look forward to working with school communities all across the country to ensure the Title IX guarantee of nondiscrimination in school is every student’s experience.”

Louisiana State Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley, who was appointed to the post, wrote a letter to school districts in his state and ordered them not to comply with the new Title IX rules. 

“These new rules have been in development for nearly two years, and I have previously submitted comments in staunch opposition as it alters the long-standing definition that has created fairness and equal access to opportunity for women and men,” Brumley wrote in his letter, according to local TV station Fox 8. “At this time, my opposition to these new Title IX rules remains unchanged. The Title IX rule changes recklessly endanger students and seek to dismantle equal opportunities for females.”

The South Carolina superintendent of Education, Ellen Weaver, also an elected Republican, recommended districts ignore the updated definition of Title IX. 

“South Carolina students are not pawns to be sacrificed in cynical political gambits,” she wrote in a memo, according to The Post and Courier newspaper. “Accordingly, our state will defend the inherent dignity of every person, while refusing to upend long-standing federal law, violate common sense, or acquiesce to radical attempts to redefine biological reality by bureaucratic diktat."

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