Jump to content

Federal lawsuit against religious schools, including byu


Recommended Posts

15 hours ago, kllindley said:

I find the suggestion that "We told you all along that legalizing SSM would lead to stripping federal funding/discrimination lawsuits" to be the very definition of the word "gaslighting."

Indeed. Look at this “gas lighting” going on here (from 2014):

And from California boy here:

So much “gas lighting” 🙄

Link to post
52 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I'm remembering that I did hear the bold on this board (because this board was pretty much the only place I was a part of discussions on the topic), but I certainly can't prove it and I acknowledge that my memory may be flawed on that.

See here for an example that is opposite of your memory. 

 

Link to post
Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Indeed. Look at this “gas lighting” going on here (from 2014):

And from California boy here:

So much “gas lighting” 🙄

Great examples.  Too bad the board's format has changed over the years so we can't go back as far back as FAIR has been in existence, but even so, your examples are appreciated.

 

Edited by Daniel2
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

See here for an example that is opposite of your memory. 

 

I wouldn't say that was the opposite of my memory as I never claimed that no one said differently.  Only that there were those who tried to convince people that they should support anti-discriminatory laws against lgtbq (laws which I do support) by saying it was stupid to think they would have any negative impact on religious organizations.

It might help to remember that I've been posting on here since it was FAIR in 2006 (and maybe you have too, I honestly have no idea).  I remember hearing that argument a lot more in the 2008 era when SSM was starting to become a legal issue the country was focused on. And the difference between 2008 and 2014, in terms of lgtbq rights and expectations, is pretty big. 

As SSM and gay rights became more of a given, that argument, in my memory at least, waned. I think partly because people were starting to believe that laws could actually force religious institutions to either accept or suffer.  I don't think that was as much a hope when things were still more "status quo".   

A pipe dream maybe, but it didn't seem like the 'practically a given' that many people see it as now.

Edited by bluebell
  • Upvote 2
Link to post
12 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I wouldn't say that was the opposite of my memory as I never claimed that no one said differently.  Only that there were those who tried to convince people that they should support anti-discriminatory laws against lgtbq (laws which I do support) by saying it was stupid to think they would have any negative impact on religious organizations.

It might help to remember that I've been posting on here since it was FAIR in 2006 (and maybe you have too, I honestly have no idea).  I remember hearing that argument a lot more in the 2008 era when SSM was starting to become a legal issue the country was focused on. And the difference between 2008 and 2014, in terms of lgtbq rights and expectations, is pretty big. 

As SSM and gay rights became more of a given, that argument, in my memory at least, waned. I think partly because people were starting to believe that laws could actually force religious institutions to either accept or suffer.  I don't think that was as much a hope when things were still more "status quo".   

A pipe dream maybe, but it didn't seem like the 'practically a given' that many people see it as now.

Only joined in 2012. So you may be right. That said, in the linked post, you state that's the first you heard of the Bob Jones case, and in that thread it was pointed out by several advocates of Gay Rights pointed out that there is a distinction between protected constitutional rights and the rights of getting a tax exemption at a private university.

  • Like 2
Link to post
4 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

Only joined in 2012. So you may be right. That said, in the linked post, you state that's the first you heard of the Bob Jones case, and in that thread it was pointed out by several advocates of Gay Rights pointed out that there is a distinction between protected constitutional rights and the rights of getting a tax exemption at a private university.

This is why I think that I must not have explained myself very well in this thread, because I haven't considered the bolded to have been in question. 

I've only meant to convey that is is not false that some pro-lgtbq supporters have, in the past, castigated those who had qualms about such laws due to a believe that they could eventually being used against religious institutions.

  • Like 3
Link to post
2 hours ago, Daniel2 said:

Actually, I absolutely would be interested in hearing how you would demonstrate the harm you're claiming, but I accept if you aren't able/willing to defend your statement or offer evidence of such.

If my daughter attends a state school that discriminates against Christian student groups, she is eligible for Pell grants and other research grants. Now, if y'all get your way, if she attends a religious university that requires students to adhere to their religious code of conduct she cannot. She is denied those same opportunities.  

2 hours ago, Daniel2 said:

I am reminded of the saying, “The loss of privilege can feel like oppression.” 

I didn't say that it felt like oppression. I said there is a harm. Further introducing the concept of privilege is misleading here. Currently (for the past many decades) the Law - not some IRS regulation - grants an exemption for religious institutions.  I have not brought up any concern about IRS regulations regarding tax exempt status. That is not what this case is about. 

2 hours ago, Daniel2 said:

I absolutely understand that you may sincerely feel that you are being harmed by being required to honor anti-discrimination laws to accept tax exemption benefits and public funding, but from a legal perspective, the law does not classify such as ‘irreparable injury.’ 

You are now as adding into the discussion the concept of "irreparable injury." That wasn't my claim. Not to mention the condescension or contempt in your statement that I feel I am being harmed. 

2 hours ago, Daniel2 said:

 

Anti-discrimination laws requiring me to respect the legal rights others on the basis of protected classes who are never-the-less different than I am do not harm me

 

Can you please reference the legal right of students to attend whatever University they want while ignoring the institution's Code of Conduct? I haven't seen that. 

  • Upvote 2
Link to post
2 hours ago, Daniel2 said:

 

As mentioned in my previous post to you, I do NOT believe that any such lawsuits against the LDS Faith itself (or any other church) would or will ever succeed.  Legal precedent shows that churches and clergy members themselves will be entirely free to continue to discriminate against/maintain their prohibitions on same-sex relationships and behaviors despite civil protections of such, just as churches themselves continue to be entirely free to discriminate against interracial relationships and behaviors despite civil protections of such.  

Now, if I'm wrong about what I just said in the above-preceeding paragraph, THEN I would expect someone to turn to me and say, "But Daniel2, you said THIS would never happen!," and I'd have to admit that that person would be right.

I will grant that I cannot prove that people in the 2007-2008 era were claiming places like BYU could still have an Honor Code.  I will also admit that my memory of more recent discussions was in error. I apologize for the accusation of gaslighting. 

Given the difficulty of doing searches for specific comments, not to mention the possibility of technological changes making searches beyond a certain time, I will screenshot this post of yours because I do expect that we will see that happen given the trajectory to this point. 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 3
Link to post
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, kllindley said:

If my daughter attends a state school that discriminates against Christian student groups, she is eligible for Pell grants and other research grants. Now, if y'all get your way, if she attends a religious university that requires students to adhere to their religious code of conduct she cannot. She is denied those same opportunities.  

I didn't say that it felt like oppression. I said there is a harm. Further introducing the concept of privilege is misleading here. Currently (for the past many decades) the Law - not some IRS regulation - grants an exemption for religious institutions.  I have not brought up any concern about IRS regulations regarding tax exempt status. That is not what this case is about. 

You are now as adding into the discussion the concept of "irreparable injury." That wasn't my claim. Not to mention the condescension or contempt in your statement that I feel I am being harmed. 

Can you please reference the legal right of students to attend whatever University they want while ignoring the institution's Code of Conduct? I haven't seen that. 

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying about your daughter attending a "state school that discriminates against Christian student groups."  Which school are you speaking of, here?

Yes, you used the word harm.  And yes, I introduced the word 'injury' to the conversation, which is a synonym for 'harm' used in the legal system.  The reason I chose to use the legal term for 'harm' is that my point was that, while you may genuinely feel/perceive that you/your daughter are being harmed, from a legal perspective, the Supreme Court found no evidence of 'irreparable injury' (that legal synonym for 'harm') in a similar case involving Bob Jones University.  

You accuse me of being condescending and contemptuous in saying that "you feel you are being harmed."  No condescention or contempt was intended; rather, I meant to draw a distinction between what may genuinely feel like harm to you, vs. what the law views as harm (or as mentioned previously, in the Bob Jones case, 'irreparable injury').

Yes, I said I was reminded of the saying that 'the loss of privilege feels like oppression.'  The privilege I am referring to here is the privilege of tax-exemptions for religiously-owned schools, AND the privilege of using tax-payer funds at private, religiously-owned institutions.  Up until 1983, Bob Jones University and its students enjoyed tax-exemption benefits (the privilege) while being able to discriminate against individuals who engaged in interracial relationships, as well as (originally) only accepting white students and refusing black students entirely. When the courts ultimately said they couldn't continue to accept the benefits of tax exemptions while simultaneously discriminating against interracial couples, the school lost the privilege of tax exemption benefits.  That was their 'loss of privilege.'  I would imagine many of those students, their parents, and school officials may have felt that they were 'being harmed' by removing those privileges, which I see similar to what you were saying about you and your daughter.  That perceived harm, which I imagine they could be entirely sincere about and perhaps even personally-justified in so-feeling, is something one could consider or perceive to as 'oppression.'  Hence my saying I was (and still am) reminded of the saying that the loss of privilege can feel like oppression. 

Regarding your question asking me to reference "the legal right of students to attend whatever University they want while ignoring the institution's Code of Conduct," I'm not sure what you're referring to here.  That isn't a claim I've made or am defending, and like you, I haven't seen that, either. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding you, though; if so, can you clarify what you mean?

Edited by Daniel2
Link to post
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, kllindley said:

I will grant that I cannot prove that people in the 2007-2008 era were claiming places like BYU could still have an Honor Code.  I will also admit that my memory of more recent discussions was in error. I apologize for the accusation of gaslighting. 

Given the difficulty of doing searches for specific comments, not to mention the possibility of technological changes making searches beyond a certain time, I will screenshot this post of yours because I do expect that we will see that happen given the trajectory to this point. 

I appreciate your willingness to apologize and admit error.  I strive for that same level of self-awareness and humility, and have admitted to being wrong in the past, too.  It's easier to acknowledge when I'm wrong than to even try to defend what would be an entirely implausible always-correct but entirely fictitious version of myself... LOL.

And while you're absolutely welcome to screenshot and keep a saved copy of this conversation and my post, I will be the first to admit that I was wrong if our government ever seeks to force Churches themselves or their clergy members to change their doctrines or religious rites (so long as no other non-religiously-related laws are being broken), and should that day arise, I will raise my voice and work to support churches' right to be free from government coercion into their religious beliefs and practices.

Edited by Daniel2
  • Upvote 2
Link to post
On 6/4/2021 at 10:06 AM, Chum said:

A woman with you is stuck with a choice she wouldn't have made

And in the scenario you gave, a woman could possibly be stuck with a knife while you watch from 50 yards away. 

      Here's what you and I can agree on probably. 99 out of 100 times, you standing there 50 yards away will probably be a deterrent and make the guy question getting off the bike and attacking the woman. I think where you and I start seeing things differently is, I understand the mindset of the 1 guy who would get off the bike, I've dealt with them and I've also hired a handful over the years. And trust me, they wouldn't care if you're 50 yards away, 50 feet or even 10 feet. They don't care about cameras, they don't care about witnesses, they wouldn't even care if the woman was pregnant, if they want something they're going to get it. 

    Have you ever met someone who is perfectly happy being in jail because they get free meals, a place to sleep, to lift weights, watch TV ? I have. To them, a woman is just a xxxch, he sees her as an object, as easy prey, as easy money, as something to manipulate. It's a totally different mentality than you and I have, it's not even close. They don't care if they're alive or dead, they could care less. They don't care about you, your family, if your a dad or a mom. They don't care about their family, their mom or dad. It is 100 percent about them. 

   I don't know about your area, but in my area the people I just described usually use public transportation or guess what!! They ride a BIKE, because they're to irresponsible to maintain a valid drivers license. Read through some of my old post, I've talked about picking them up from bus stops and people's houses and driving them to work because even though I know they're dangerous, I give them a chance. Where I live they sleep on the beach between rocks on the jetties, in the marshlands where the cops won't go because they will get their uniform dirty, in the sheds at the home Depot or Lowe's parking lot, culvert pipes, basically anywhere. Their source of income is begging for money on corners, prostitution, or theft.

      In my area, a guy on a bike at 12am circling a woman is more than dangerous, it usually means he's out of money and looking for an easy victim so he can get some drug money. And I would say about 10 percent don't care AT ALL AT ALL AT ALL if the person they're targeting lives or dies. If that woman doesn't give up her purse in 1 to 2 seconds, she's getting a knife to the liver.

 I don't know, maybe you've never experienced what I just described. Maybe you've never interacted with someone who when you look into their eyes you can tell life means absolutely nothing to them, they're just existing and anyone who inconveniences them can die, they just don't care. But where I live, a good portion of honorable men and women will automatically bolt straight toward a woman in a Walmart parking lot if a man on a bicycle is circling her without hesitation. 

    

  

 

Link to post
Posted (edited)

Looks like courtlistener has finally picked it up which will make it easier to track.

https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/59776076/hunter-v-us-department-of-education/?filed_after=&filed_before=&entry_gte=&entry_lte=&order_by=desc

Which means we also get to read the motion to dismiss by William Jessop University (who are requesting intervener status), without having to cough up money to PACER.

https://storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.ord.159668/gov.uscourts.ord.159668.32.0.pdf

Quote

First, the Court lacks jurisdiction because Plaintiffs fail to plead a claim under either 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

Second, the complaint violates basic pleading requirements.

Third, each of the 33 Plaintiffs lack standing.

Fourth, Plaintiffs fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

Fifth, the requested relief would violate the Religious Schools’ constitutional and statutory rights.

 

Edited by JustAnAustralian
  • Like 1
  • Upvote 3
Link to post

In what will surely please and perhaps surprise many, earlier today the Biden Administration's Department of Justice announced they would be defending religious schools' exemptions from anti-LGBT discrimination laws.  It will be interesting to see how this squares with the Biden Administration's support for The Equality Act, the inclusion of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" as subsets within "sex" according to Title IX protections, and other pro-LGBT initiatives.  Given the current make up of most of the court system and now with the current administration's "vigorous" support, it seems most likely that the religious schools here, including BYU, are more likely to prevail in this case.

 
Quote

 

 
image.png.58188880018fa5f10d8ad5a6fa62cbdd.png
Henry Munoz, left, former Democratic National Committee finance chairman, meets with then-presidential candidate Joe Biden at the Stonewall Inn, site of 1960s-era confrontations between the gay community and police in New York on June 18, 2019. (Bebeto Matthews/AP)
 
June 8, 2021 at 10:49 p.m. MDT
 
The Justice Department in a court filing Tuesday said it can “vigorously” defend a religious exemption from federal civil rights law that allows federally funded religious schools to discriminate against LGBTQ students, a move that surprised some LGBTQ advocates who said the wording went further than just an obligation to defend an existing law.
 
In the filing, the Biden administration said it “shares the same ultimate objective” as the conservative Christian schools named in the case.
 
“What this means is that the government is now aligning itself with anti-LGBTQ hate in order to vigorously defend an exemption that everyone knows causes severe harm to LGBTQ students using taxpayer money,” said Paul Carlos Southwick, director of the Religious Exemption Accountability Project, which filed the case in March on behalf of dozens of current and past students at conservative religious colleges and universities. “It will make our case harder if the federal government plans to vigorously defend it like they have indicated.”
 
At issue in Hunter v. the U.S. Department of Education are 40 LGBTQ students at conservative religious colleges and universities who are suing the government for its role in providing funding to schools with discriminatory policies. The schools say they have a First Amendment right to promote traditional religious beliefs about sexuality and gender.
 
“The Plaintiffs seek safety and justice for themselves and for the countless sexual and gender minority students whose oppression, fueled by government funding, and unrestrained by government intervention, persists with injurious consequences to mind, body and soul,” reads the March suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Oregon. “The Department’s inaction leaves students unprotected from the harms of conversion therapy, expulsion, denial of housing and healthcare, sexual and physical abuse and harassment, as well as the less visible, but no less damaging, consequences of institutionalized shame, fear, anxiety and loneliness.”
 
Billions in federal money for things such as scholarships and grants flow through the U.S. Department of Education.
 
But the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, whose members include many of the schools named, said in a May motion that the Biden administration couldn’t be trusted to adequately defend the schools’ beliefs, and “may be openly hostile to them.” Its motion asked to intervene and be part of the case.
 
However, the Justice Department filed an opposition on Tuesday to CCCU’s request and that of several other Christian schools to join the case. It said the Department of Education and the Christian schools “share the same ‘ultimate objective’ … namely, to uphold the Religious Exemption as it is currently applied.” The parties’ shared interests, the filing said, are “identical.”
 
A spokesperson for the Education Department declined to comment and a request to talk with the Justice Department attorney who wrote the motion was not answered Tuesday.
 
It wasn’t immediately clear the Biden administration’s thinking on the issue that is at the center of several major recent Supreme Court cases: tensions between religious liberty and anti-discrimination laws. President Biden is also in the midst of pressing for passage of the Equality Act, a sweeping measure that would add gender identity and sexuality to the groups protected under the Civil Rights Act, while significantly weakening exemptions for religious groups and people.
 
The motion, which was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Oregon, said in a note that “To be sure, the Federal Defendants have not yet filed any pleading or motion setting forth their legal position in this case.”
 
And the Justice Department is expected to defend federal laws.
 
However, the country is in the thick of hashing out legal rights around religion, sex, sexuality and gender identity and the Biden administration has presented itself as an unwavering ally for full equality.
 
A March letter from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division says the administration believes Title IX (the civil rights law banning sex-based discrimination in federally funded education) provides that no “person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
 
Shirley Hoogstra, president of the CCCU, said Tuesday night she was relieved to see the administration say it wants to “defend religious exemptions” and feels Christian schools that will be affected by the case should have a representative at the table.
 
“We’ll see what happens. We’re pleased they want to defend religious exemption,” she said.

 

 

Edited by Daniel2
Link to post
1 hour ago, Daniel2 said:

In what will surely please and perhaps surprise many, earlier today the Biden Administration's Department of Justice announced they would be defending religious schools' exemptions from anti-LGBT discrimination laws.  It will be interesting to see how this squares with the Biden Administration's support for The Equality Act, the inclusion of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" as subsets within "sex" according to Title IX protections, and other pro-LGBT initiatives.  Given the current make up of most of the court system and now with the current administration's "vigorous" support, it seems most likely that the religious schools here, including BYU, are more likely to prevail in this case.

Pres. Biden's DOJ has also moved forward in defending former POTUS Trump in a defamation suit:

Quote

The Biden administration's Justice Department filed court documents Monday that seek to defend former President Donald Trump in a defamation lawsuit.

President Joe Biden criticized Trump on the campaign trail last year for using the department like his own "private law firm" in multiple instances, including in the case of E. Jean Carroll, who has accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in the mid-1990s.

In September, Trump's Justice Department filed documents seeking to represent Trump against Carroll's claim in federal court.
...
The Justice Department argued in a brief filed Monday in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City that it should represent Trump, as nearly everything he said and did as president was a matter of government action.

"Speaking to the public and the press on matters of public concern is undoubtedly part of an elected official's job," the brief states. "Courts have thus consistently and repeatedly held that allegedly defamatory statements made in that context are within the scope of elected officials' employment — including when the statements were prompted by press inquiries about the official's private life."

The Justice Department lawyers wrote that Trump was "crude and disrespectful" in questioning Carroll's credibility and that comments attacking her appearance, impugning her motives and implying that she had made false accusations "were without question unnecessary and inappropriate." But, they said, they "all pertained to the denial of wrongdoing."

So credit where it's due.

On the other hand, there's this:

Quote

The publisher of The Washington Post said the Department of Justice has “intensified the government’s attack on First Amendment rights” under President Joe Biden.

Fred Ryan wrote in his paper Sunday evening that the Biden Justice department not only kept pursuing Trump-era battles against reporters and outlets, but expanded them. Earlier this year, the Biden DOJ won a judge’s approval for a gag order against The New York Times, preventing the newspaper from publicly revealing its legal battle with the federal government over its reporters’ records. Ryan wrote:

 
 

After Biden took office, the department continued to pursue subpoenas for reporters’ email logs issued to Google, which operates the New York Times’ email systems, and it obtained a gag order compelling a Times attorney to keep silent about the fact that federal authorities were seeking to seize his colleagues’ records. Later, when the Justice Department broadened the number of those permitted to know about the effort, it barred Times executives from discussing the legal battle with the Times newsroom, including the paper’s top editor.

This escalation, on Biden’s watch, represents an unprecedented assault on American news organizations and their efforts to inform the public about government wrongdoing.

Ryan also said The Washington Post has yet to hear back from the Biden DOJ on subpoenas submitted under former President Donald Trump for the records of several Post reporters.

“To date, no answers have been provided and the meeting has yet to take place. This delay is troubling,” Ryan wrote. “When asked about how the president’s assurances can be squared with his Justice Department’s behavior, White House press secretary Jen Psaki could offer no explanation. She subsequently released a statement disavowing White House knowledge of the actions that appear to have continued for several months during Biden’s presidency.”

The DOJ is never going to please everyone, but as regarding defending the religious exemption, I am hoping it will move forward and defend it in good faith.

Not everyone is pleased with the DOJ:

Quote

Joe Biden is facing criticism from LGBT+ rights campaigners after his justice department backed federally funded Christian schools in a discrimination case.

In a court filing in Oregon on Tuesday, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) informed a court that its interests were “identical” to faith schools discriminating on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

It continued by offering its backing for Christian schools to be exempt from federal laws banning LGBT+ discrimination. The schools in question are funded in part by the US government.

According to The Washington Post, the DoJ’s wording of its“vigorous” defence of the Christian schools outraged campaigners, and caught many off guard.

“What this means is that the government is now aligning itself with anti-LGBTQ hate in order to vigorously defend an exemption that everyone knows causes severe harm to LGBTQ students using taxpayer money,” said Paul Carlos Southwick, who filed the case in March on behalf of current and former students of Christian schools.

“It will make our case harder if the federal government plans to vigorously defend it like they have indicated,” he told The Post.

It sounds like Mr. Southwick is principally angry the the DOJ is sounding like it is going to "vigorous{ly}" do its job (which, after all, it should), but also that he would be less outraged if the DOJ was milquetoast in its defense of the religious exemption.

Meanwhile, the other side seems pleased:

Quote

After the DoJ argued that it “shares the same ultimate objective” as the Christian schools, the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities — whose effort to join the case was thrown out on Tuesday — told The Post it was relieved to see the Biden administration saying it wants to “defend religious exemptions”.

However, let's take a closer look the DOJ's move.  See here:

Quote

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a court filing this week it can “vigorously” defend an exemption to anti-LGBT discrimination laws for religious schools amid a lawsuit over funding for such institutions.

The filing Tuesday noted that the DOJ's "ultimate objective is to defend the statutory exemption and its current application" by the Department of Education (DOE), which is being sued by 40 LGBT students.

The students, who attend conservative religious schools, are suing the department for providing funding to colleges and universities that they say have discriminatory policies.

The schools in the lawsuit — Hunter v. Department of Education — argue that they have the First Amendment right to promote their own religious beliefs on sexuality and gender.

The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU), which counts many of the schools named in the lawsuit as members, said in May that they could not trust the Biden administration to fully defend them and pushed to get involved in the case, The Washington Post noted

However, the Justice Department — which is charged with upholding federal law — opposed such a move, saying in its filing Tuesday that it shares the same "ultimate objective" as the schools in the case "to uphold the Religious Exemption as it is currently applied."
...
CCCU president Shirley Hoogstra told The Post on Tuesday that she was relieved by the DOJ saying it wants to "defend religious exemptions."

"We welcome the Biden administration's commitment to the Title IX religious exemption, but we do believe that the Christian colleges and universities whose rights are at stake should have a representative at the table, and in the courtroom, for these important conversations," Hoogstra added in a statement to The Hill on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, here's Slate's take on this story:

Quote

No, the Biden Administration Isn’t Betraying Its Support for LGBTQ Rights

The Department of Justice has a good reason for defending a religious exemption to Title IX.

JUNE 09, 20212:45 PM

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice told a federal court that it intends to defend a federal law that allows private religious colleges and universities to discriminate against LGBTQ students. At first blush, the DOJ’s filing in Hunter v. Department of Education may seem surprising: President Joe Biden has, after all, promised to promote LGBTQ rights, including the rights to all students to receive an equal education. But the Biden’s administration’s move in Hunter should not be interpreted as a betrayal of these values. The Justice Department is not only following its general obligation to defend federal laws; it’s also trying to prevent a Christian organization from taking over the defense and mounting extreme arguments that could lead to a devastating subversion of civil rights law. Biden’s progressive supporters may be offended by the DOJ’s defense of discrimination, but the alternative is almost certainly worse.
...
With very few exceptions, the Department of Justice has a duty to defend federal laws in court. Yet before the DOJ could even respond to 
Hunter, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities—which represents more than 180 Christian institutions that do not want to comply with civil rights laws—jumped in. CCCU urged a judge to let it intervene in the case and defend the Title IX exemption, arguing that the Justice Department will “not only fail to make the points necessary to defend Title IX’s religious exemptions as applied to sexual and gender minorities, but it may also instead be openly hostile to them.” For evidence, CCCU cited Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pam Karlan’s memo requiring full implementation of Bostock’s reasoning to Title IX. It also pointed to Biden’s various statements in support of LGBTQ rights, including his promise to “end the misuse of broad exemptions to discriminate,” as well as his support for the Equality Act, which would amend civil rights laws to expressly cover LGBTQ people.
...

Why, then, is CCCU so eager to insert itself into this litigation? The likely answer can be found elsewhere in its filing, which makes sweeping arguments about religious schools’ right to discriminate. CCCU declared its intent to “establish that the Title IX exemption” is not only lawful, but “constitutionally required.” The organization alleged that religious institutions have a First Amendment right to discriminate against LGBTQ students however they see fit. Title IX’s exemption, in CCCU’s view, merely recognizes these institutions’ freestanding constitutional entitlement to mistreat gay and transgender students.

This position does not have any explicit basis in precedent, but recent Supreme Court decisions in favor of Christian schools suggest that the conservative justices are eager to free religious institutions from civil rights laws. 
...
The best way to prevent the federal judiciary from adopting CCCU’s extreme stance is to stop the organization from making it before a court in the first place. That is presumably one reason why the Justice Department strongly opposed the group’s request to intervene, insisting on Tuesday that the administration can defend the Title IX exemption just fine by itself. The DOJ’s latest filing does not imply that the agency is exceedingly enthusiastic about the exemption, but rather that the Biden administration can be trusted to support the law’s legality in court.

 

So to sum up:

1. A lawsuit has been filed challenging an exemption in Title IX pertaining to religious schools.

2. The purpose of the lawsuit is to compel religious schools to capitulate on their religious convictions.

3. The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) apparently did not trust that the DOJ would defend Title IX.  This concern was apparently justified as evidenced in the above remarks about Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pam Karlan’s memo that seemed to gut the exemption.  The above piece, written by Mark Joseph Stern, was published today.  And yet in January this same journalist was shouting with joy about the Biden Administration's approach to federal law, saying it is part of "the Biggest Expansion of LGBTQ Equality in American History."  He even included this bullet point about the impact of Biden's approach:

Quote

In a historic executive order, Biden ordered every federal agency to clarify that civil rights laws prohibiting sex discrimination also prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. 
...
A few examples illustrate the extraordinary breadth of Biden’s order:
...
• Title IX bars sex discrimination at federally funded educational institutions. Biden’s Department of Education will soon clarify that these institutions cannot discriminate against LGBTQ students. The executive order notes that transgender students may not be denied access to bathrooms or school sports.

So according to Mr. Stern, the same administration that just a few months ago was taking steps to "clarify" the scope of Title IX can now be relied upon to "vigorously" defend the exemption for religious schools within Title IX.  Well, I hope so. 

4. The CCCU seems to be taking the DOJ at its word.  Again, I hope the DOJ does what it says it's going to do.

5. To his credit, Stern is even-handed in his summary of what Biden can and cannot do:

Quote

{W}hat other options does the Justice Department have? It could decline to defend the exemption, much like the Obama administration stopped defending the federal same-sex marriage ban. This move would amount to the nuclear option, one that presidents typically resort to only when they are convinced a law is blatantly, invidiously unconstitutional. Title IX’s exemption just doesn’t fit the bill. 
...

On March 8, Biden issued an executive order directing the Department of Education to take any “additional enforcement actions” necessary to implement Title IX’s protections for LGBTQ students. The administration is racing to enshrine Bostock in federal regulations that apply to secular schools. But there is nothing the president, on his own, can do about Title IX’s exemption. Congress created it, and Congress can abolish it; in the meantime, the Justice Department must defend it—not as a policy matter, but as a duly enacted federal law.

I think that's right.

Thanks,

-Smac

 

 

Edited by smac97
Link to post
23 hours ago, smac97 said:

Pres. Biden's DOJ has also moved forward in defending former POTUS Trump in a defamation suit:

So credit where it's due.

On the other hand, there's this:

The DOJ is never going to please everyone, but as regarding defending the religious exemption, I am hoping it will move forward and defend it in good faith.

Not everyone is pleased with the DOJ:

It sounds like Mr. Southwick is principally angry the the DOJ is sounding like it is going to "vigorous{ly}" do its job (which, after all, it should), but also that he would be less outraged if the DOJ was milquetoast in its defense of the religious exemption.

Meanwhile, the other side seems pleased:

However, let's take a closer look the DOJ's move.  See here:

Meanwhile, here's Slate's take on this story:

So to sum up:

1. A lawsuit has been filed challenging an exemption in Title IX pertaining to religious schools.

2. The purpose of the lawsuit is to compel religious schools to capitulate on their religious convictions.

3. The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) apparently did not trust that the DOJ would defend Title IX.  This concern was apparently justified as evidenced in the above remarks about Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pam Karlan’s memo that seemed to gut the exemption.  The above piece, written by Mark Joseph Stern, was published today.  And yet in January this same journalist was shouting with joy about the Biden Administration's approach to federal law, saying it is part of "the Biggest Expansion of LGBTQ Equality in American History."  He even included this bullet point about the impact of Biden's approach:

So according to Mr. Stern, the same administration that just a few months ago was taking steps to "clarify" the scope of Title IX can now be relied upon to "vigorously" defend the exemption for religious schools within Title IX.  Well, I hope so. 

4. The CCCU seems to be taking the DOJ at its word.  Again, I hope the DOJ does what it says it's going to do.

5. To his credit, Stern is even-handed in his summary of what Biden can and cannot do:

I think that's right.

Thanks,

-Smac

 

 

Here is an article that is skeptical about the Biden Administration being sincere in its intention to "vigorously" defense the religious exemption in Title IX (emphases added) :

Quote

Did the Biden DOJ Just Reveal Its Hand in the LGBT Religious Exemption Lawsuit?

 
BY TYLER O'NEIL JUN 10, 2021 12:17 AM ET
 

In March, 33 current and former students at federally-funded Christian colleges and universities filed a class-action lawsuit against the Department of Education, claiming that the religious exemption to Title IX violates the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution by allowing Christian institutions to allegedly “discriminate” against “sexual and gender minorities.” Christian colleges have sought to defend their rights in court, but the Department of Justice under President Joe Biden moved to block them.

The lawsuit, Hunter et al. v. Department of Education, appears to be a fait accompli. Since Biden has signaled his hostility to religious freedom protections like the religious exemption in Title IX, the Biden administration seems unlikely to give the colleges the robust defense they deserve.

Yet on Tuesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) under Biden filed a motion to prevent three Christian colleges and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) from intervening in the case. The DOJ claimed that it could “vigorously defend” the religious exemption, so the court should not allow the Christian institutions to speak up for themselves.

Yet on Wednesday, the DOJ appeared to give an indication that this legal filing was all smoke and mirrors. As The Washington Examiner reported, the DOJ amended its filing, omitting the language about “vigorously” defending the exemption.

The Tuesday document included this sentence: “Neither the Administration’s stated policy positions nor the Department’s review of existing regulations abrogate the government’s duty to defend federal statutes and regulations in court as a legal matter.” Yet the filing on Wednesday dropped that key statement.

Paul Southwick, leader of the Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP), the organization behind the lawsuit, told the Examiner that “it remains to be seen” whether the new DOJ filing is merely “semantics or a substantive shift” in policy.

“They’ve backtracked a little, but it’s more that they backtrack in the language they use,” Southwick said. “Instead of ‘vigorously’ defending, they are now saying that they will ‘adequately’ defend the constitutionality of the statute. … The administration shouldn’t be defending the religious exemption at all. It’s unconstitutional.”

Southwick had condemned the first filing, as well. “What this means is that the government is now aligning itself with anti-LGBTQ hate in order to vigorously defend an exemption that everyone knows causes severe harm to LGBTQ students using taxpayer money,” he said at the time.

Indeed, Biden has bent over backward to appease the LGBT activists, from nominating the first openly transgender official to pushing changes to federal law, including the Orwellian Equality Act, which explicitly guts the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

It seems the Biden DOJ is winking and nodding at REAP, telling the court that it will defend the religious exemption while preparing to yield key arguments to the LGBT activists when the actual case begins. The DOJ’s rush to revise the filing after LGBT activists condemned the original version only underscores the colleges’ concerns.

“This lawsuit wants the federal government to tell Christian schools, ‘To continue accepting students who have federal financial aid, all you have to do is to start acting contrary to your own beliefs.’ That’s neither reasonable nor constitutional,” David Cortman, senior counsel and vice president of U.S. litigation at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Christian law firm representing the colleges, said in a statement.

“No court should grant a radical request to rewrite federal law and strong-arm religious colleges by stripping their students of much-needed financial aid,” Cortman added. “For that reason, we are asking the court to let our clients intervene in this lawsuit so that they and their students can defend their freedoms under federal law and the Constitution.”

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
Link to post
9 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Here is an article that is skeptical about the Biden Administration being sincere in its intention to "vigorously" defense the religious exemption in Title IX (emphases added) :

Thanks,

-Smac

Well, PJ Media does have a rather spotty history of accuracy. I suppose we'll have to wait and see what the DOJ does.

Link to post
1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

Well, PJ Media does have a rather spotty history of accuracy.

Yeah, I am not a fan of most media outlets, particularly the wear-their-politics-on-their-sleeves ones.

However, the facts reported appear to be:

1. On June 8 the DOJ filed a motion stating that it would “vigorously defend” the religious exemption in Title IX.

2. In this same motion the DOJ stated:  “Neither the Administration’s stated policy positions nor the Department’s review of existing regulations abrogate the government’s duty to defend federal statutes and regulations in court as a legal matter.”

3. There was some immediate criticism of the DOJ about these statements.

4. On June 9 the DOJ amended the above-referenced motion to omit the statements in items 1 and 2 above.

PJ Media put a gloss on this June 9 filing, just as other commentators did about the June 8 filing.  In any event, factually speaking the items 1-4 seem to be beyond dispute.  For example, see this article from The Washington Times:

Quote

DOJ waters down promise to 'vigorously' defend religious schools' LGBTQ exemptions

By Mark A. Kellner - The Washington Times
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
 

One day after telling a federal district court it would “vigorously defend” laws exempting evangelical Christian colleges and universities — and other faith-based schools — from rules promoting LGBTQ rights, the Biden administration’s filing in the case lost its vigor. Literally, as President Biden himself might say.

On Tuesday, Justice Department lawyers, responding to a petition from some Christian schools and their trade association to intervene in Hunter v. Department of Education, rejected their claims the government would not “vigorously” defend those exemptions. The Wednesday filing omits that language, instead saying the intervenors “have not at this time made the necessary ‘compelling showing’ that the Federal Defendants will fail to adequately represent their interests in defending” the religious exemption.


The revised filing also omits a statement in the Tuesday DOJ document: “Neither the Administration’s stated policy positions nor the Department’s review of existing regulations abrogate the government’s duty to defend federal statutes and regulations in court as a legal matter.” Seeing the words dropped could heighten concerns over the Biden administration’s willingness to protect these exemptions.

The bolded bit above is less of a gloss than what PJ Media did, but both are reporting the same facts.  Do you concur?

1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

I suppose we'll have to wait and see what the DOJ does.

Actually, I think we'll have to wait and see what the court does.  I suspect the ADF and other groups are aware of this development and its potential ramifications, and will use the above omission as further evidence that the DOJ can't be trusted to "vigorously defend" the exemption in Title IX.

Thanks,

-Smac

Link to post
On 6/9/2021 at 1:45 PM, Daniel2 said:

In what will surely please and perhaps surprise many, earlier today the Biden Administration's Department of Justice announced they would be defending religious schools' exemptions from anti-LGBT discrimination laws.  It will be interesting to see how this squares with the Biden Administration's support for The Equality Act, the inclusion of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" as subsets within "sex" according to Title IX protections, and other pro-LGBT initiatives.  Given the current make up of most of the court system and now with the current administration's "vigorous" support, it seems most likely that the religious schools here, including BYU, are more likely to prevail in this case.

Traditionally the Department of Justice defends all current laws. Rarely they do not take up the case. This doesn’t mean much. The DoJ can just give a token defense and lose.

It is also traditional for the administration not to direct the DoJ as to what they should prosecute or what they defend so this is not Biden’s call unless he is continuing on the path of his predecessor and meddling in DoJ activities. I doubt he is. It would be politically suicidal if he were caught.

There are a few areas where the executive branch can instruct the DoJ but it is usually in broad terms. A recent example was instructing all federal agencies not to prosecute marijuana crimes in states that had legalized the drug even though it was still illegal under federal law.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...