U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor on Sunday night blocked Obama administration guidelines that require publicly funded schools to allow students to use the bathroom that best conforms with their gender identities.
According to Reuters, O’Connor ruled that the Obama administration had improperly issued the guidelines, which interpreted Title IX in a manner that prohibited discrimination against transgender students.
The ruling is a victory for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who headed a lawsuit joined by Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Arizona, Maine, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah, Georgia, Mississippi, and Kentucky. Paxton, a vocal critic of transgender rights, recruited two attorneys from the far-right, religiously affiliated Liberty Institute. Critics also accused him of shopping the suit around so he could file it in O’Connor’s district; the judge is a George W. Bush appointee.
O’Connor’s ruling doesn’t overturn the Obama administration’s guidelines. He has just blocked them from enforcement pending further legal action. Still, he’s dealt a major blow to transgender students, who already face higher than average rates of bullying and harassment in school.