Department of Justice

The New Reality

On the second day of Jeff Sessions the DoJ filed notice in the Fifth Circuit that it is withdrawing its request that a nationwide injunction against pro-transgender policies be limited to the states that sought the injunction.

Then, in a joint request with the states challenging the policy, the states and the Justice Department both requested that the oral arguments on that issue be removed from the court’s calendar.

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DOJ: Title IX protects transgender students

Last month I shared a news item about the ACLU filing suit on behalf of trans teen Gavin Grimm against Gloucester County Schools for banning him from the boys room.

The suit discusses how Gavin has been ostracized from the girls’ room, where others perceive him to be a boy and ask him to leave. He has also found that using the school’s single-stall restrooms actually spotlights him as “the black sheep,” describing walking to the rarely used facilities as a “walk of shame.”

The USDOJ filed a statement of interest in the case this past week.

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DOJ intervenes in case of Ashley Diamond

 photo Ashley_Diamond_zpsva39xxxv.jpgThe Department of Justice has filed a 19-page brief in the case of Ashley Diamond v Owens, et al. in a District Court in Georgia.

Ms. Diamond, 36, lived openly as a transgender woman since she was a teen, but was arrested for theft, probation violation, escape, and obstruction of justice. She was convicted and sentenced to a maximum of 11 years. She was, of course, sent to a male prison.

You’d have thought she murdered a small village. But it was their final chance to get her out of Rome, and they did.

--Charles Neal Sumlin, victim of the theft

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Holder places government support behind transgender people

With Congressional action on the Employment NonDiscrimination Act distinctly absent for the past two legislative sessions, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder provided employment protection for gender nonconforming people through another means yesterday.

Holder issued aa memo informing all Department of Justice component heads and United States attorneys that the department will no longer assert that Title VII's prohibition against discrimination based on sex excludes discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender discrimination. This reverses an earlier Department of Justice position.

Title VII makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate in the employment of an individual "because of the individual's...sex. " among other protected characteristics.

I have determined that the best reading of Title VII’ s prohibition of sex discrimination is that it encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status

This important shift will ensure that the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are extended to those who suffer discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status.

This will help to foster fair and consistent treatment for all claimants. And it reaffirms the Justice Department’s commitment to protecting the civil rights of all Americans.

--Attorney General Holder

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DOJ sues Texas RV park for violation of Fair Housing Act (evicting transwoman)

Eric Holder has filed a lawsuit putting the federal government behind the discrimination claim of a transwoman against a Texas RV park.

On October 3 the suit was filed in the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler Division) against George Toone and his company, In Toone Services. In Toone Services owns Texas RV Park in Athens, TX.

Roxanne Joganik filed a complaint with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in June 2012, alleging that Toone discriminated against her on the basis of sex, violating the federal Fair Housing Act. Joganik and her roommate, Darlina Anthony, moved into the park on a month-to-month lease in April of 2011. In Toone Services acquired the property in May of 2012, 5 days after Joganik had paid her rent through the month of June. Joganik informed Toone that she was transgender and asked him if he would have a problem with her wearing female clothing in the common areas of the RV park. Toone said it would be a problem because "there are children around the pool." So Joganik refrained from doing so.

A week later Toone distributed copies of the new park rules, requiring residents to sign them along with their service agreements. The rules said that management "reserved the right to refuse entrance to anyone for any reason other than 'race, religion, handicapped (sic), color or national origin.'" The new rules did not include sex or family status, which are protected classes under the FHA. So Joganik refused to sign the rules.

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Departments of Education and Justice weigh in on restroom, locker room usage for trans students

Arcadia, CA is situated in Los Angeles County, in the San Gabriel Valley, 13 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. It is probably best known for being the site of the Santa Anita racetrack, although it is also home to the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden.

In 2010 Bloomberg named Arcadia as one of the Best Places to Raise Your Kids for the second straight year. I guess that was "unless your kid is transgender."

On Tuesday the Arcadia school board unanimously passed a resolution to accept an agreement with the US Departments of Education and Justice to end an investigation into allegations of discrimination against a transgender student in a complaint filed in October 2011. The resolution agreement is here.

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AP-Gate Just Got Worse

Regardless of the left's opinion of Fox News, the Obama administration has gone way over the constitutional line and this is adds to the serious threat to freedom of the press. The idea that the government. on its unconstrained wild hunt for whistle blowers, can issue secret subpoenas for telephone records just got worse this morning. The case is being made against Fox News reporter James Rosen for his reporting on the possibility that North Korea would respond to additional UN sanctions with more nuclear tests back in 2009. The Department of Justice is prosecuting State Department adviser and arms expert Stephen Jin-Woo Kim for "leaking" the information to James Rosen of Fox News. To makes the case against Rosen this is what the DOJ did:

They used security badge access records to track the reporter's comings and goings from the State Department, according to a newly obtained court affidavit. They traced the timing of his calls with a State Department security adviser suspected of sharing the classified report. They obtained a search warrant for the reporter's personal e-mails. [..]

Court documents in the Kim case reveal how deeply investigators explored the private communications of a working journalist - and raise the question of how often journalists have been investigated as closely as Rosen was in 2010. The case also raises new concerns among critics of government secrecy about the possible stifling effect of these investigations on a critical element of press freedom: the exchange of information between reporters and their sources.

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Gender Prison: Transpeople, the DOJ, and Sage Smith

December 5 was the anniversary of the founding of the National Center for Transgender Equality, so the organization was holding their 9th Anniversary Awards Reception. And they invited Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Roy L. Austin, Jr. to speak. There is a slideshow of the event, which was held at the National Press Club ballroom, here.

Austin said that the DOJ has and will continue to use its law enforcement powers to fight anti-transgender discrimination, claiming that the department has investigated and taken action against hate crimes, school bullying, and biased policing that target the transgender community.

Now under the leadership of Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez, the Civil Rights Division has never been stronger and the fight for transgender equality has never been fought more forcefully.

--Austin

On the inside I will continue the report on Austin's presentation while attempting to control my boundless cynicism.

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