Clarifying an earlier ruling, a federal judge in Forth Worth said Wednesday that his injunction that barred the Obama administration from enforcing its school directive on transgender bathrooms applied to every state in the nation.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor also clarified that his preliminary injunction, issued Aug. 21, applied only to the federal directive that schools allow transgender students to use the bathroom and locker room that conforms with their gender identity. It did not otherwise affect the government’s “core missions to combat discrimination based on race, national origin or disability,” he said.
Lawyers for the federal government had asked for the clarification to be issued before Thursday, when it faced a deadline to appeal the injunction.
But O’Connor said he needed additional information to address three points of contention on his injunction:
• Whether the injunction applies to investigations under Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act, which protects against discrimination in public facilities and public education, “particularly as it applies to workplaces where school teachers or school staff may or must use the same intimate facilities as students.”
• Whether the injunction also applies to rules set by the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
• Whether any part of the federal transgender guidelines can be reinstated if offending passages are removed.
The judge gave the federal government until Oct. 24 to address the issues. Texas, which is leading a 13-state coalition that challenged the transgender directive, has until Oct. 28 to submit a reply brief.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the clarification affirms the principle that Congress, not the president, writes the nation’s laws.
“The court’s reaffirmation of a nationwide injunction should send a clear message to the president that Texas won’t sit idly by as he continues to ignore the Constitution,” Paxton said.