Bench Memos

Obama’s Transgender Edict Enjoined Nationwide by Federal District Court in Texas

In a 38-page decision dated August 21, but released today, Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a nationwide injunction against the Obama administration’s edict — in the form of a “Dear Colleagues” memo — that recipients of federal funds grant access to bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers to transgender individuals.

Texas and twelve other states brought the challenge on May 25. The hearing on plaintiffs’ preliminary injunction motion, filed on August 3, was held on August 12. Judge O’Connor concluded that the Obama administration’s regulation-by-memo failed to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act and contradicted the terms of the statutes it purported to enforce.

Notably, Judge O’Connor declined to follow the Fourth Circuit’s contrary decision in G.G. ex rel Grimm v. Gloucester Cty. Sch. Bd., 822 F.3d 709 (4th Cir. 2016), noting that the U.S. Supreme Court recalled the Fourth Circuit’s mandate and stayed the preliminary injunction entered by the district court in that case.

Judge O’Connor’s ruling is a significant decision and a complete victory for the plaintiffs. Congratulations are due to Texas attorney general Ken Paxton and his team, who played the lead role in this case.

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