UPDATED: Idaho joins lawsuit over new Title IX rules

(UPDATED, 9:07 a.m. Wednesday, with statement from Gov. Brad Little, supporting the lawsuit.)

Idaho has joined in a growing red-state pushback over rewritten Title IX rules.

On Monday, Attorney General Raúl Labrador said Idaho would join Louisiana, Mississippi and Montana in a suit challenging the Biden administration’s new Title IX rules, issued earlier this month. Gov. Brad Little and state superintendent Debbie Critchfield both said they support the move.

Extending sex discrimination protections to LGBTQ+ students represents a “twisting” of the landmark 1972 law, Labrador said Monday.

Attorney General Raúl Labrador

“The new definition of discrimination that includes gender identity will have a profound impact on the progress Title IX has made for girls and women in our society,” Labrador said in a news release. “With a single act, the Biden administration threatens decades of progress and opportunities for our females, while also subjecting them to the indignity of exposure to males in their locker rooms and bathrooms.”

The lawsuit further argues that the rules fail to define “gender identity,” which will require school administrators to interpret the administration’s intent.

The Biden administration announced the new guidelines on April 19.

“For more than 50 years, Title IX has promised an equal opportunity to learn and thrive in our nation’s schools free from sex discrimination,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said. “These final regulations build on the legacy of Title IX by clarifying that all our nation’s students can access schools that are safe, welcoming, and respect their rights.”

The rules would go into effect on Aug. 1.

But several Republican-led states want to stop that from happening.

In addition to the lawsuit involving Idaho, the state of Texas filed its own case Monday. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered the Texas’ Education Agency to ignore the Biden administration rules, the Texas Tribune reported Monday.

Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said his state “will not comply” with the new rules.

In a statement issued Tuesday evening, Little’s office objected to the new rules.

“With this final rule, President Biden is attempting to rewrite Title IX and broaden its meaning far beyond what Congress passed into law. In doing so, President Biden is exceeding the law and encroaching on Idaho’s democratic process.”

On Tuesday, Critchfield said she supported suing the feds. Here, in full, is her statement.

“Many local Idaho education agencies are understandably concerned about implementing the new Title IX regulations and how subsequent enforcement could impact their day-to-day operations.

“My team and I will closely monitor these developments and will update our school leaders accordingly. We are working with the Office of the Attorney General to analyze the significant changes and what they mean for districts and charters.

“I fully support the state’s legal action against the federal government. The current administration’s tactic of inserting itself into the business of states and, in this instance, locally elected school board members has grown tiresome. These sorts of actions waste valuable time and resources and take away from our focus on educating kids.”

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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