Friday, June 16, 2017

Another Brick From The Wall

The Trump administration just took another brick from the wall of protections for us that President Obama’s administration build for us.

Last year in July Trump said at the Republican convention,
During his 75-minute speech at the Republican National Convention in July, Donald Trump looked genuinely surprised at the roar of applause when he said, “As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens.”
Yup right.
Trump administration narrows civil rights investigations, reportedly will stop investigating transgender bathroom access
LA Times
By Joy Resmovits
June 16, 2017

The U.S. Department of Education is telling civil rights investigators that they can limit the scope of their work, according to an internal memo uncovered by ProPublica.

The Department also is reportedly circulating an internal memo on enforcing gender discrimination laws that specifically tells officers to stop investigating whether transgender students have been denied the ability to use the bathrooms of their choice. A spokeswoman from the Department did not immediately respond to request for comment on this directive.

During the Obama administration, the department's Office for Civil Rights frequently made waves. The office named colleges that faced scrutiny for mishandling sexual assault; outlined protections for transgender students (which recently have been revoked) and identified patterns of discrimination in school districts and universities.
The Obama administration didn’t just pull their protections for us out of a hat, it was based on a long history of court victories. Going back to the Supreme Court 1989 decision in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins where they ruled that sex discrimination includes discrimination based on sex stereotyping where a woman was not made partner in the firm because she didn’t look feminine enough, they told her to change her hair style, use more makeup, and wear a dress and high heels. From that decision the courts started recognizing the gender identity and expression is a form of sex stereotyping. The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunity issued their ruling CHRO Declaratory Ruling on behalf of John/Jane Doe  it was based on the Supreme Court ruling (it is a good read if you want to understand the logic behind our legal protections).

So when the Trump administration revokes protection for us they are going against years of legal precedents.

The Secretary of Education said,
DeVos press secretary Elizabeth Hill said the rules are meant to speed up the resolution of complaints.

"These internal enforcement instructions seek to clear out the backlog while giving every complaint the individualized and thorough consideration it deserves," she said in an e-mail. "There is no longer an artificial requirement to collect several years of data when many complaints can be adequately addressed much more efficiently and quickly."
But Senator Murray called her out on it…
"President Trump and his Administration can claim to oppose discrimination all they want, but actions speak louder than words," Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said in a statement. "Everything they are doing is making it clear that they want to defang and weaken the federal government’s tools to protect the civil rights and safety of people across the country."

Lhamon [Catherine Lhamon lead the Office for Civil Rights under Obama] called the new guidelines her "worst nightmare." The drive to reduce caseloads and close cases quickly, she said, leads to an "assembly line justice that does not open its eyes to the kinds of harms that OCR staff know exists in schools."
It is going to be a long four years and I have a feeling it is going to get worst.

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