David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss President Trump’s executive orders that scrutinize the amount of land designated as national monuments and Obama-era restrictions on offshore drilling. They also groan as it looks like the update health care bill is also struggling to find the votes to pass. And they take aim at the ACLU for suing a Catholic hospital for refusing surgery for a transgender patient.
The Virginia Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to the new transgender accommodation policy at one of America’s largest school districts, but the lead attorney for the plaintiffs vows the case will come back and his side will win when the decision focuses on the facts and the law.
Last week, the Virginia Supreme Court dismissed the case against Fairfax County Public Schools – the largest school district in Virginia and one of the ten largest in the United States – because it concluded the plaintiffs lacked standing before the court.
“They ruled on what’s called standing, whether there was an actual injury here. What we have here is the school board passed the policies but they haven’t actually enforced them yet against any student to the point of disciplining them,” said Liberty Counsel Chairman Mathew Staver, who represented the unnnamed student, the student’s parents and another parent with kids in the Firfax Public Schools.
“Fear of discipline should be enough. That’s what we argued,” said Staver. “But the Virginia Supreme Court ultimately ruled that it’s not ready for a decision yet until someone actually has standing. They have to have a real injury, rather than just fear that they’re going to have an injury, even though the fear is very real and very legitimate,” said Staver.
He says once the case comes back with standing, the court will be compelled to side with his clients.
“Whenever we get them to rule on the actual merits, that is whether the school board can add additional non-discrimination categories that are not included in the state law, then we win. It’s an easy decision at that point in time,” said Staver.
Staver strongly disagrees that a student must be disciplined to have standing to challenge the policy, noting that a formal punishment, even if later reversed, could tarnish a student’s efforts to be accepted at a military academy or work in sensitive areas like national security and intelligence.
He also says students shouldn’t have to negotiate a policy that doesn’t meet state law.
“The school can’t do something that’s clearly illegal, which it’s done, hang it over the heads of the students and threaten that they will be disciplined and then simply void legal repercussions by not disciplining them, but threatening discipline. The fact that they threaten discipline is enough to deter someone’s actions. For the good students, they’re not going to want to walk into a buzzsaw of discipline,” said Staver.
Staver is confident of winning on the merits because of the Dillon Rule, which states no local non-discrimination policy can add protected classes beyond what has been added under state law. Virginia has not added transgender or sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy.
He says the looming fear of punishment based on an illegal policy is already condemned in legal precedent.
“If you have a violation of free speech, you can file for that action. But if you’re threatened in your free speech, you don’t have to go through discipline or threat or arrest, if the law or the rule or the policy or the ordinance actually creates a chilling effect so that you refrain from speaking, because you are fearful that you will be disciplined or charged or arrested, that’s enough,” said Staver.
Nonetheless, Staver says he is already gathering evidence that will argue his clients has suffered injury because of the policy. In fact, Staver says evidence came in during the lead-up to oral arguments before the court that would have greatly strengthened his case, but he points out evidence discovered after filing the case is inadmissible.
Staver is unsure whether other left-leaning school board in Virginia will take the court’s dismissal as a green light to enact their own policies. He strongly urges districts not to follow the lead of Fairfax County or else they will end up paying massive court fees when they lose on the merits.
On the other hand, Staver says the more school districts pursue the transgender accommodation policy, the easier it will be to gather evidence to being the case back to the Virginia Supreme Court.
Another advantage for Staver, is the Trump administration’s repeal of the Obama Justice Department’s directive that all public schools adopt transgender accommodation policies.
“It definitely strengthens our case on the merits because Fairfax County or any other county could say, ‘We’re just doing it because we’re compelled to do so by this federal directive. They can’t do that anymore. That particular argument , that crutch has been taken away from them,” said Staver.
Social conservatives and proponents of federalism are cheering the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Obama policy requiring public schools to accommodate transgender students and personnel according to their gender identity, but the fight is far from over.
The battle now shifts to the a Supreme Court case, state supreme courts and countless school districts around the country, but Liberty Counsel Chairman Mathew Staver says this week’s Justice Department ruling is critical.
“Removing this lawless directive from the Obama administration will do a lot to get the federal government off the backs of these local schools,” said Staver, who says the Obama order put girls at great risk by placing them in vulnerable situations with biological males.
He says the backlash by liberals and the media is
“There’s such a big backlash about this in the liberal media, like there’s something horrible that he did. Frankly, he’s just following the law. The law does not include gender identity, or sexual orientation, or gender expression – or whatever you want to say – to the non-discrimination categories,” said Staver.
Staver notes that Congress has rejected such efforts to amend Title IX to expand the application of non-discrimination policies. He further states that the authors of Title IX and the 1964 Civil Rights Act had no intention of extending such protections.
Despite the Trump administration’s move, the Supreme Court may soon weigh in the issue. On March 28, the eight justices will hear arguments in in a high profile case out of Virginia. Gavin Grimm, a biological male who identifies as male, is in a legal battle with the Gloucester County Schools.
However, Staver now believes the high court may defer on the issue as a result of Trump’s actions.
“It’s possible that the court may simply punt on this and dismiss the case because of this new development. One of the questions before the Supreme Court is should they give deference to the administrative agencies for interpreting the statute. That administrative agency has gone back to the original intent of the statute,” said Staver.
The Trump administration’s decision also impacts Staver directly.
“This comes at a good time for a case that I’m arguing next week before the Virginia Supreme Court. In the next few days, I’ll argue before the Virginia Supreme Court on the Fairfax County case,” said Staver.
“That’s a school board in northern Virginia that, on its own, included gender identity, sexual orientation and gender expression to its policies. Virginia doesn’t allow that. It has to be set at the state level,” said Staver.
“Our case deals with something that many states have and that is that these non-discrimination categories have to be set at the state level, not at the local level. You don’t want to have different policies at the state, county, and local level all conflicting with one another,” said Staver.
He says this battle is playing out around the United States.
“Just a few days ago, the Arkansas Supreme Court came down with the same thing. Fayettevile added gender identity to its non-discrimination policy. The Arkansas Supreme Court said no, you can’t do that. It has to be set at the state level. That’s exactly what I’m arguing at the Virginia Supreme Court,” said Staver.
Even more battles on this and other key issues will play out at school board meetings around the country. Staver urges people to get active at the local level.
“It’s very important to get involved with the local school board because you can stop these policies before they occur. That’s the first line of defense. You need good people at the school board, not just for these policies but for other things as well. We need good Christians and people of moral values to be on these school boards all across the country,” said Staver.
Greg Corombos of Radio America and David French of National Review applaud the Trump administration for rescinding Pres. Obama’s demand that all public schools embrace transgender accommodation and leaving the issue to states or local school districts. They also slam the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for ruling that any gun can be banned if it’s “useful for military service.” And David vents about the one of the worst trades in NBA history.
The effort to blur and even erase gender distinctions is a decades-long effort by liberal activists to achieve equality but the effort is only serving to endanger the very women the movement supposedly champions.
That’s the premise of “Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female” by journalist and Catholic Association Senior Fellow Ashley McGuire.
She says the movement has far larger goals than winning restroom and locker room accommodation for people who believe they are a different sex than their anatomy would indicate.
“The endgame is being pushed by an elite segment of society that thinks that equality only will come when we all seem truly identical or when we ‘liberate’ ourselves from this idea of sex and gender,” said McGuire. “Women are the ones who lose in a world where it’s scandalous to even use the word ‘woman’ as a category.”
While many social conservatives see the transgender movement bursting onto the scene in just the past few years, McGuire says the larger effort has been unfolding for decades.
“Radical left-wing feminists pushed this idea that we’re very gendered, that we’ve been socialized to be a certain way, that these are superficial things and that sex is something very random and we just need to get ourselves out of these male and female boxes for women to be equal like men. We’re just starting to see some of the most extreme manifestations of it now, a few decades later,” said McGuire.
In her book, McGuire highlights stories such as a schoolteacher removing Legos from her classroom because boys were far more likely to play with them than girls and high schools removing Homecoming king and queen from the lexicon in favor of ‘royalty.’
Target stores have stopped labeling toys for boys and girls and there is even a push to stop dividing boys and girls clothes into different sections of the stores.
“What we’re seeing now is society actually actively encouraging confusion. That’s the kind of things parents have to resist, whether they’re getting it in their consumer choices or whether it’s actually being taught in their schools,” said McGuire. “This idea that toys and clothes have to be gender neutral or else you’re doing some sort of harm to your children is completely false,” said McGuire.
But it’s not just kids who deal with the consequences of the effort to eradicate gender and sex. McGuire says adult women are paying the price, including those serving in the military. She says women in the service can now be forced to the front lines of combat if they meet the physical requirements.
In 2016, the issue took on a greater dimension, when Congress very nearly required all women to register with Selective Service, which could one day make them eligible for non-voluntary service, possibly even in combat.
“It’s ironic to me that we’re suddenly talking about taking away choice for women, a choice as to whether they’re going to be put into some of the most dangerous situations possible,” said McGuire.
“The Marines just had their boot camp go co-ed and now they’re going to be putting men and women into the same sleeping quarters. That raises all sorts of risk for sexual assault, lawsuits, rape and things like that,” said McGuire.
College campuses also continue to pursue policies that are marketed as progressive but that McGuire believes puts women at great risk, especially in residential housing.
“Something like 80 percent of rapes (on campus) happen in college dorms. A lot smaller percentage than you think happen in fraternities and sororities or off-campus housing. That shouldn’t surprise us because most of these dorms are co-ed,” said McGuire.
“The idea being that men and women are no different. We can put them in the same building where they’re going to sleep and shower. Often they’re showering and bathing in the same bathroom. Some (colleges) are already implementing co-ed dorm rooms but at the same time wondering why women are being raped left and right,” aid McGuire.
So what do feminists have to say in response to this effort endangering women? McGuire says the left is very good at silencing opposing views.
“They’re trying to stifle any sort of dissent on the issue. I think there are very few people speaking out against it,” said McGuire.
She also says it took awhile for many people to see how the movement could impact them and their children.
“This all seemed like something that didn’t affect people in a very personal way. Increasingly, I think people are starting to see, whether it’s someone like me – a mother to a couple of young children – faced with the prospect that my kids might be taught in their school curriculum as young as kindergarten about gender being a malleable construct,” said McGuire.
McGuire says there are some groups on the left that believe ending gender and sex distinction is harmful to women so the fight against the cultural tide will lead to “strange bedfellows.”
She also says studies show that equality for women is being achieved without blowing up our cultural foundation. Citing research showing that CEO’s with daughters are likely to offer better salaries and opportunities to women, McGuire says things are moving in the right direction and a radical redefinition of humanity is not needed.
“That’s the direction we should be going. We should be exploring what our differences are, how our differences contribute in mutually beneficial ways, and trying to establish an equality based on that, not on this fake and unrealistic idea that if we make everything identical that’s when we’ll have achieved equality,” said McGuire.