Utah joins other states in lawsuit against Obama over transgender bathroom order

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Utah has now joined nine other states in a lawsuit against the White House over its new transgender directive in schools.

Nine other states and three individual school districts have joined the federal lawsuit, according to the lawsuit , which was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas and obtained by CNN.

Joining  Utah are Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, Maine, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Georgia.

Two school districts in Arizona, one school district in Texas and Maine Gov. Paul LePage are also listed as plaintiffs.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that the state’s attorney general, Ken Paxton, would challenge the controversial order, which tells school district to allow transgender students to use the restroom of their choice.

On joining the lawsuit, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes issued the following statement:

“Every child is an individual.  The recent “Dear Colleague” letter from the US Department of Justice and Department of Education attempts to apply a single solution to all individuals without regard for the input of parents, schools, and community leaders. The federal government’s ‘one size fits all’ mandate, disconnected from the needs of Utah schools, disrespects individuals and ignores the law.

“As such, Utah has joined an action with states across the country to clarify issues raised by the DOJ and DOE and to prevent the federal government from infringing on the role of states, local school districts or Congress.  Multiple states in good faith sought clarification from the DOJ and DOE, but the silence from the federal government has resulted in an environment of confusion for educators and administrators. The lawsuit will identify whether states and local school boards remain free to find solutions on a case-by-case basis, suited to the needs of individual families.

“This case is not really about bathrooms, but about executive branch overreach.  If the “Dear Colleague” letter was intended to mandate a new interpretation of the law, the lawsuit challenges that adaptation as legally improper.  When a presidential administration wishes to change the law, it must do so appropriately. This Administration could have worked with Congress. It could have challenged the constitutionality of a state or local board policy. Or it could have taken proper steps under the Administrative Procedures Act to provide notice and solicit comment from the public, including states, school boards and families.  Process has a purpose.”

No other details were immediately available Wednesday about the number of states joining in on the suit. Abbott announced the litigation in a tweet.

Abbott, a former state attorney general himself, has made his lawsuits against the Obama administration a touchstone of his political profile.

The state is currently awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s executive actions on immigration.

Obama has defended the directive as a measure to prevent bullying for “vulnerable” students.

“I think that is part of our obligation as a society to make sure that everybody is treated fairly, and our kids are loved, and protected, and their dignity is affirmed,” he told BuzzFeed News in an interview last week.

The nonbinding guidance was distributed jointly by the Departments of Education and Justice earlier this month.