On just the second day of Jeff Sessions’ post as Attorney General, the Justice Department decided on Friday (February 10) to reverse its prior position on advancing the rights of transgender people under existing civil rights law.
The federal government reportedly filed a notice in a lawsuit the state of Texas and others brought against the Obama administration’s pro-transgender policies. This suggests that the fed’s position on pending legal questions surrounding trans rights could be changing. At the very least, the filing suggests Trump’s administration is pulling back while it considers what position it will be taking in the case.
In the filing, the Justice Department announced it would withdraw its request that the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit limit a lower court’s nationwide injunction of pro-transgender policies and instead only cover those states that had brought the litigation.
The argument, originally brought forth by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and later by Obama’s Justice Department, among others, is that existing civil rights law bans on sex discrimination should also include a ban on transgender discrimination because it is classified as sex discrimination.
All of this comes after President Trump announced that he would not be attempting to curb the rights of transgender people. During the campaign Trump said he supported trans rights and even their right to use the restroom that matches their gender identity.
Twitter reacted to the rights switcharoo. Many were not surprised given Jeff Sessions’ civil rights history. Check out some of the reaction below.
First confirmed step backward on LGBT rights? Sessions has been busy. https://t.co/F78j4IzKkZ— RPBP (@rpbp) February 11, 2017
It took 2 days for Jeff Sessions' DOJ to pull back on protections for transgender Americans. It will only get worse. https://t.co/shh88sdssX— Drew Gibson (@SuppressThis) February 11, 2017
@BryanDawsonUSA Can't teach an old racist dog new tricks— Chester Ellis (@ce9461) February 11, 2017
(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)