Monday, May 9, 2016

North Carolina Sues Federal Government and Department of Justice

Picture of Gov. Pat McCroy of North Carolina(
In response to the Department of Justice, the governor of North Carolina has sued both the Federal Government and the Department of Justice over the state's bill, HB2, which requires transgender individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex when in state facility. In addition, the law prevents local authorities from passing their own form of anti-discriminatory laws. Previously, the Department of Justice condemned North Carolina for HB2, as it viewed the law as discriminatory to transgender individuals and as a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX provisions. Fighting back, the governor of North Carolina has sued the Federal Government and the Department of Justice. The governor claims that the bill is not discriminatory since all employees are required to use the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex and that "transgender status is not a protected class under Title VII." Furthermore, the governor believes that the DOJ's interpretation of the Civil Rights Act and its action against North Carolina's bill was an overreach.

What do you think about this situation? Does the governor from North Carolina have any legitimate points? In other words, do you believe that the Department of Justice's actions were an overreach? If not, why do you believe the Federal Government's actions were in line with the intent of the Civil Rights Act? Considering the 10th amendment or the Supremacy Clause, how would you view this situation? How do you think the government should proceed?



Carolyn Ku said...

Given that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prevents discrimination on the basis of sex, I think that the Department of Justice is right in saying that HB2 is discriminatory to transgender people and in violation of the Civil Rights Act. In addition, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) ruled in 2012 that employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity or transgender status was prohibited under Title VII because "he decision held that discrimination on the basis of gender identity qualified as discrimination on the basis of sex whether the discrimination was due to sex stereotyping, discomfort with the fact of an individual's transition, or discrimination due to a perceived change in the individual's sex." So I think that the Civil Rights Act is applicable to this situation and that North Carolina is in the wrong.

Nicholas Tong1 said...

The main principle behind North Carolina's law (correct me if I'm wrong) is that a grown "man" should not be allowed to go into a woman's bathroom, and likewise for women. However, by definition, an individual who is a transgender has had his/her sex reassigned through sex reassignment surgery. Is therefore not a "man" entering the woman's bathroom, but by definition a "woman" entering a woman's bathroom. I therefore see where dissenters are coming from, as there certainly seems to be a fault in North Carolina's legislation.

However, given the fact that there are a myriad of sex identities people identify themselves as, including male, female, trans, and more, it may prove to be quite difficult to categorize people to their respective bathrooms, especially when some people do not even identify themselves as the conventional male and female. It's hard to remain sensitive to people's identities, but it's also unrealistic to create separate bathrooms for all sex identities. North Carolina's legislation would clearly define who belongs to which bathroom, and clean up the convoluted issue of sex identity and conventional bathrooms.

All in all, I see both sides of the case. Perhaps it would be better to assign individuals to bathrooms that correspond to their current biological gender identity specified on their I.D.?

cvandelip said...

I see how the Civil Rights Act protected those who undergo sex changes. Once a person goes thru a sex change, they define as the sex gender they had surgery to become. If one identifies as a girl, she should not be required to use a mens bathroom. I believe the civil rights act, while not intended to, protects transgenders because one who identifies as a certain gender should not have to go to a bathroom they do not identify with. The Civil rights Act prohibited discrimination based on gender, and I feel this discriminated those who go thru a sex change.

Brian Cheong said...

Perhaps given the rapidness of how quickly this dispute escalated, it is only logical for the Department of Justice to react with such fervor. It would appear almost as if there is too large of a discrepancy between the different forms of government. Previously, we've seen state governments counteract against local governments and their regulations of the distribution of plastic bags; hence, there is clearly an incongruity that exists between the two forms of government. Oftentimes, the differences are found in their varying interpretations of "overreach." Granted, interpretations of certain measures are never clear (e.g. The Constitution?), but from these different viewpoints, clarity may be lost between different governments as to certain acts -- in this case, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the nation's anti-discrimination provisions as a whole.

Alex Binsacca said...

Seeing as how the civil rights act comes into this situation, I believe that the federal government is the correct group to side with. As states are forced to follow the law that you cannot discriminate someone based on their race, gender, or sexual orientation. Also seeing as how the supremacy clause comes into effect as well, only furthers the support for the federal government. If North Carolina continues to refuse to accommodate for these individuals, then the government could decide not to donate anymore funds to North Carolina. I also believe the government will not be wrong to send in national guardsmen as seen before when a state violated the civil rights act, like the little rock nine event.

Justin Chan said...

Thank you Virginia for your post. I am in full support of what the federal government and the Department of Justice are saying about the HB2 bill. I believe that their actions are not an overreach of their power, as in their view, they are trying to clarify the intent of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX provisions; however, at the same time, I understand the argument that the federal government may be over-reading the text.

I strongly believe that the intent of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is regarding sex (biologically-based), not gender (socially-based). To reference Title VII, "'on the basis of sex' include, but are not limited to, because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions." It is apparent that the way the law defines "sex" is relating to biology due to examples such as "pregnancy" and "childbirth." The law also states "not limited to," yet I still claim that the HB2 bill does not violate the laws that define "sex" as so. To be clear, I do not support the HB2, and I would rather have a law/amendment explicitly stating that a transgender's sex is his/her newly identified gender.

Do you believe that the federal government is over-reading the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
Does the federal government even have a say on the issue because of the 10th amendment?
Should there be more of a distinction between "sex" and "gender"?

Marly Miller said...

I think that the Government is right in calling out North Carolina. A large part of being transgender is how the individual identifies. They are not happy with their biological sex and choose to be how they feel they truly are. The state should not impede on the citizen's personal choice, regardless of their sexual status.

Kristen Tamsil said...

I agree with the commenters here as well that the HB2 bill in North Carolina violates the Civil Rights and discriminates based on sex/gender, and the Department of Justice is correct in condemning the bill. Transgenders identify with their true believe of their sex orientation and went to the trouble of medical procedures to attempt to correct their biological sex. They should be allowed to use bathroom facilities that identify with their new change. The HB2 is a very insensitive bill and is wrong.

Jared Mayerson said...

Governor Pat McCroy is incorrect in saying that this is not discriminatory. HB2 forces people to use the bathroom of the sex they were born with rather than the one they currently identify with, even if they've gone through surgeries to change their anatomy. It forces transgender people to use the bathroom that people like Governor McCroy think they should use, rather than the one they want to. As Casey explained, even though the text of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not explicitly protect the rights of transgender people, it in implied. Rights are not protected to only certain groups of the population and the governor of North Carolina should know this. He can try to challenge the Department of Justice's claim that it violates the law but discrimination is discrimination. This bill needs to be striked down for good, fast.