(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and 17 other state attorneys general have filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration for inventing sweeping laws outside the process mandated by our Constitution.
The complaint challenges recent administrative actions by the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that rewrite two federal laws governing discrimination on the basis of sex.
“Rule by administrative overreach may seem convenient, but tossing the process our Constitution requires will inevitably trample the liberties of our most vulnerable,” Attorney General Yost said. “I will always defend the rights of our citizens to be a part of the legislative process and work to stop the abuses of a recalcitrant administrative state determined to bypass them.”
This case is not about the wisdom of the administration’s policy, Yost said, it is about power. As the U.S. Supreme Court reminded the Biden administration just last week: “Our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends.”
The lawsuit first challenges an interpretation by the Department of Education that attempts to require schools nationwide to implement federal policies regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. Nowhere does the Constitution provide authority for the federal government to run our nation’s schools and their athletic programs.
In the absence of this authority, Congress taxes citizens in the states and offers money back to states and schools with clear conditions. Congress created one of those conditions in 1972 via Title IX: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subject to discrimination” in schools receiving federal funds.
Without warning, however, the Department of Education in June changed the conditions and decided that Title IX, in addition to discrimination on the basis of sex, applies to nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. This profound change was not accomplished through a law change by Congress, or even through an administrative process, but only through a unilateral interpretation.
The complaint filed by the attorneys general reminds the federal government that administrative agencies do not have the authority to change laws.
Secondly, the lawsuit challenges a recent interpretation of a Supreme Court ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under which the EEOC asserts a power that it does not have to redefine the law.
In Bostock v. Clayton County, the Supreme Court ruled that, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers may not fire employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Although the EEOC cannot issue rules and regulations under Title VII, the commission interpretation attempts to expand the Bostock ruling to mandate that employers adopt practices regarding pronouns, access to shared bathrooms, uniforms, and other matters – issues that the Bostock decision did not address.
The state of Tennessee is leading the legal effort by the states, and is joined, besides Ohio, by Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and South Dakota.