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Breaking: Trump Administration Officially Revokes Obama Guidance to Protect Civil Rights of Transgender Students

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Trump White House Ignores Federal Civil Rights Rulings

The Trump administration has just revoked Obama-era guidance on ensuring the rights of transgender public school students are protected in accordance with federal law. The White House this week repeatedly has stated President Trump believes protections for transgender students should be administered at the state and not at the federal level. Despite the president’s beliefs, civil rights are a federal, not state issue.  

In a letter signed by officials from the Departments of Education and Justice, a new “Dear Colleague” letter states the Obama guidance is being withdrawn and rescinded “in order to further and more completely consider the legal issues involved.”

Buzzfeed’s Chris Geidner posted the new letter to Twitter:

Last year Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Education Secretary John King, Jr., sent a “Dear Colleague” letter explaining how schools can protect transgender students, including allowing them to use restrooms and other public accommodation areas that correspond with their gender identity. 

Republicans were outraged and some states sued. The guidance was sidelined by a Texas judge friendly to the religious right.

A draft of the “Dear Colleague” letter rescinding the Obama guidance wrongly relies on the Texas ruling, rather than numerous court rulings that make clear Title IX protects transgender students on the baisis of sex. In a move courts are certain to view as discriminatory, the Trump administration says it is rescinding the Obama guidance in part because schools, parents, and students “have struggled to understand” the guidance. Federal civil rights laws are not flexible based on the ability to comprehend them.

Title IX, the 1972 federal civil rights law states:

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

The Trump administration will need to file arguments Thursday to defend its position in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Gavin Grimm, a Virginia high school student who is suing the Gloucester County School Board for refusing to allow him access to the boys’ room. The board has forced Grimm to use a converted janitor’s closet as a restroom.

In an addition reportedly demanded by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the draft letter states that the withdrawl of the Obama guidance “does not diminish the protections from bullying and harassment that are available to all students. Schools must ensure that transgender students, like all students, are able to learn in a safe environment.” 

The final version states “All schools must ensure that all students, including LGBT students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment.”

Earlier reports claimed Secretary DeVos had not wanted to revoke the Obama guidance but White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Wednesday she does “100%.” 

It’s important to note that regardless of the White House’s position, Title IX does not change and it still protects transgender students. The law does not change based on who occupies the White House, and the courts will likely rule against the Trump administration’s interpretation.

UPDATE I:
Trump administration notifies Supreme Court:

 

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

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BREAKING NEWS

Just 9 Republicans Joined Democrats to Uphold the Rule of Law and Vote to Hold Steve Bannon in Criminal Contempt

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Only nine House Republicans joined with every Democrat in voting to hold Trump ally Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress. Thursday afternoon’s final vote was 229-202.

Bannon refused to obey a lawful congressional subpoena ordering him to hand over documents and to submit to congressional investigators for a deposition. His legal defense was mocked by experts after he tried to invoke executive privilege.

Minority Whip Steve Scalise had directed House Republicans to vote against the motion.

Top voting rights attorney Marc Elias warns against praising the nine Republicans for doing the right thing in this one instance: “all nine of them voted against voting rights legislation,” he tweeted.

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News

‘Act of War’: Trump Blasted for ‘Chilling’ Statement Calling Election an ‘Insurrection’

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Donald Trump, the twice-impeached former president, on Thursday issued what is being called a “chilling” statement on the election and the insurrection he incited.

“The insurrection took place on November 3, Election Day. January 6 was the Protest!” Trump said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.

Former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh simply and clearly calls it an “act of war.”

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) during debate on the House floor has “repeatedly” been “calling on Republicans to denounce the Trump statement,” according to reporter Jamie Dupree.

“All my colleagues were elected on November 3,” McGovern said. “If you believe that Election Day was an insurrection, then your election results are illegitimate.”

McGovern is not the only one to blast the Trump statement:

Some journalists are also slamming the former president’s latest remarks.

S.V. Dáte, the White House correspondent at HuffPost weighed in, saying, “Donald Trump tried to overthrow American democracy after he lost his election by 7 million votes, but nearly a year later, he’s still lying. About all of it.”

Washington Post national political reporter Felicia Sonmez called it a “chilling statement … that makes clear his stance on peaceful democracy vs. violent insurrection.”

Washington Post White House bureau chief Ashley Parker pointed to the statement and said: “In which Trump’s shamelessness continues to be his political super power.”

ProPublica Senior Reporter Peter Elkind says: “This is the position of the widely embraced leader of the GOP. Republicans all behind that?”

More:

 

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Garland Destroys GOP Congressman’s False Suggestion His School Board Memo Calls Parents Terrorists

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U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland Thursday morning was forced to respond to repeated Republican false claims about his memo directing the DOJ to hold “discussions” with local leaders about threats of violence made against school board members, and several times had to push back hard against false accusations made by GOP Congressmen.

Franklin Graham, Stephen Miller, and countless others on the right for weeks have been falsely claiming that Garland has ordered DOJ to investigate parents merely for opposing school board decisions, mostly on mask mandates and what they claim is “critical race theory.”

U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) on Wednesday during a Judiciary Committee hearing falsely suggested Garland was calling parents’ challenging school boards domestic terrorists.

“One example of a so-called terrorist incident was a parent, merely questioning whether school board members had earned their high school diplomas. Now that might have been rude, but does that seem like an act of domestic terrorism that you or your Justice Department ought to be investigating?” Chabot asked.

“Absolutely not,” Garland replied. “And I want to be clear the Justice Department supports and defends the First Amendment right of parents to complain as vociferously as they wish, about the education of their children, about the curriculum taught in the schools. That is not what the memorandum is about at all, nor does it use the words ‘domestic terrorism’ or ‘Patriot Act.’ Like you, I can’t imagine any circumstance in which the Patriot Act would be used in the circumstances of parents complaining about their children, nor can I imagine a circumstance where they would be labeled as domestic terrorism.”

As NCRM has previously reported, school board members and educators in at least nine states this year have been targeted with threats, death threats, and often racist death threats, including in Virginia, Arizona, Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Vermont, according to local news reports.

Ironically, it was Congressman Chabot who, a decade ago, was legitimately accused of violating the First Amendment when his staffers directed local police to confiscate video cameras at the Congressman’s town hall event, held in a public school.

Chabot, ruffled and rebuffed by Garland’s response, decided to end the inquiry there.

“Thank you I’m nearly out of time.”

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