Fourteen Republican attorneys general filed a brief in defense of the United States Department of Education’s new regulations that dictate how colleges respond to reports of sexual misconduct. The group also asked a federal judge to dismiss a motion that attempts to delay the Aug. 14 deadline for implementation of the new regulations.
The brief, filed July 15, is the latest development in an increasingly politically partisan legal battle between supporters and opponents of the new policy. Various lawsuits have been filed challenging the legality and merits of the regulations, which were issued May 6 by the department to enforce Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded institutions. The Republican AGs from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas argue in opposition to the 18 Democratic AGs that filed suit against the department in June. The Democratic AGs also requested the court put a hold on requiring institutions to implement Title IX policies in line with the new regulations.
The brief filed by the Republican AGs argues that the regulations set “reasonable standards for combating gender discrimination in educational programs while safeguarding free speech and due process,” which they suggest both college leaders and the Department of Education under the Obama administration failed to do “for decades.”
“Educational institutions and the Department of Education have betrayed basic constitutional protections in an effort to purge anything offensive from campus,” the brief states. “These constitutional abuses reached a crescendo when President Obama’s Department of Education issued its misguided 2011 Dear Colleague Letter, which trampled the rights of students and created a false choice: either combat sexual harassment or protect constitutional liberties. We propose a different option: do both. The Department of Education’s new Final Rule accomplishes this goal.”