California, NJ and Pennsylvania Lead AG Coalition in Filing Briefs Supporting Protections against Sexual Harassment, for Rights of LGBTQ+ Students 

By Emeline Crowder 

OAKLAND, CA – California Attorney General Rob Bonta, New Jersey Attorney General Mathew J. Platkin, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle A. Henry led a coalition of 16 state attorneys general in filing a multistate amicus brief in support of the U.S. Department of Education’s 2024 Title IX Final Rule “amidst several lawsuits filed by conservative states and groups seeking to undermine the rule’s enhanced protections.” 

According to a press release from the California Department of Justice, the final rule will restore protections against sexual harassment and assault as well as protections for LGBTQ+ students. 

The announcement comes after the California DOJ motion to dismiss its lawsuit against the Trump administration’s Title I Rule that, “severely weakened prohibitions against sex-based discrimination in light of the Biden administration’s issuance of the final rule,” adding the brief stresses the importance of upholding protections and reversing the harms caused by the Trump’s administration’s rule. 

Said Bonta, “Title IX has been vital to providing safe and welcoming schools for all students since its enactment in 1972, and the Biden administration’s final rule enhances safeguards against discrimination.” 

Bonta added, “It’s alarming that Republican state attorneys general are attempting to roll back these key protections. While others seek to undermine the rights of students, particularly those of marginalized groups, today’s brief is a testament to our continued commitment to ensuring an equal education free from discrimination and harassment for students across the nation.”

The CA DOJ noted, “Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 requires that students receive an educational environment free from discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment and sexual violence.” 

The press release adds that after the Biden Administration’s issuance of the final rule, many conservative attorneys general filed lawsuits in opposition of the rule. 

But, the AGs argued, “the common experience of today’s coalition states shows that protecting students from discrimination on the basis of sex dramatically improves economic, psychological, health, employment, and educational outcomes for these individuals, yielding broad benefits without imposing significant costs on schools or compromising student privacy or safety.”

According to the press release, the coalition defends the final rule, arguing that the “definition of sex and sex discrimination is consistent with Title IX’s plain text and the U.S. Constitution, aligning with Supreme Court precedent and numerous judicial interpretations that discrimination based on gender identity is discrimination ‘on the basis of sex.’” 

The coalition notes the rule “does not violate the Spending Clause of the U.S. Constitution by clarifying that discrimination on the basis of sex includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity, as it simply requires educational institutions receiving federal funding to continue running programs and facilities in a nondiscriminatory manner while ensuring that transgender and gender-nonconforming students are not subjected to discrimination.” 

CA Attorney General Bonta is joined by the attorneys general of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

About The Author

Emeline is a third year undergraduate at UC Davis, studying International Relations and French. She is passionate about law, the criminal justice system and international politics, and hopes to pursue a career in diplomacy in the future. In her free time, Emeline loves to read, craft and hike.

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