Press release, FRANKLIN, Tenn. (April 11, 2016) – The following statement regarding
Attorney General Slatery’s opinion of House Bill 2414, the “bathroom
bill,” can be attributed to FACT President David Fowler:
Attorney General Slatery’s opinion regarding the risk to the state of losing Title IX funding if House Bill 2414 passes puts forth a carefully worded legal position that only the trained lawyer can decode to deconstruct the fear of the federal government it engenders.The Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT), which Fowler heads, was formed in 2006 by a group of citizens concerned about the growing negative impact of public policies on marriage, families, life, and religious liberty. FACT’s mission is to equip Tennesseans and their elected officials to effectively promote and defend a culture that values God’s design for the family, for the sake of the common good. For more information, visit FACTn.org.
It essentially regurgitates legal arguments made by the Obama administration that were flatly and unequivocally rejected by the only two courts to actually rule on them. A first-year law student would get in trouble for writing a brief that ignored relevant persuasive authority as if it did not exist!
The misleading nature of these omissions is compounded by the fact that the attorney general instead cites settlement agreements, not court decisions, entered into with the U.S. Department of Education. A settlement agreement only means that the school districts decided not to litigate the clear meaning of the word “sex” in Title IX and just go along with what the Obama administration wanted. Settlement agreements have no persuasive value as a matter of law, unlike the court decisions that have actually ruled in favor of sex-designated bathrooms.
Thankfully, the attorney general did mention that, by law, no money can be withheld from a state until the state loses its legal arguments, and then only if it doesn’t come into compliance with that ruling within 30 days. By law, no money can be withheld during this process, and no money can be withheld retroactively.
In other words, contrary to the general impression the opinion tends to create, legislators need to understand that there is little risk that the state will lose any Title IX money so long as it complies with whatever the U.S. Supreme Court might someday say the word “sex” means. No one needs to run around like their pants are on fire as if there is some immediate, real threat to Tennessee losing Title IX funds.
But the bottom line is that Tennessee cannot be held hostage by what the Supreme Court might possibly say at some point about the meaning of the word “sex” when the law, as it exists right now, is clearly in support of House Bill 2414.
The people of Tennessee are tired of having their public policies being dictated to them by the various branches of the federal government, and they sure don’t want the state surrendering without a fight to the Obama administration on whether boys can choose to use a girl’s bathroom or locker room.