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Published on June 11, 2024
Tennessee and Kentucky Attorneys General Seek Injunction Against New Title IX Rules Ahead of August ImplementationSource: Attorney General and Reporter, Jonathan Skrmetti

Attorneys General Jonathan Skrmetti of Tennessee and Russell Coleman of Kentucky have stepped up their legal challenge against the Federal Department of Education's updated Title IX regulations. In a statement issued via Tennessee's official website, the two states have requested a federal judge in Lexington, Kentucky, to issue a preliminary injunction against the implementation of the new rules, which are set to take effect on August 1.

According to General Skrmetti, "We're working to end the administration's new Title IX rule for good, but today's hearing was about stopping the rule from going into effect on August 1." He emphasized the potential financial implications for schools and universities, which could see funds diverted from educational practices to compliance efforts. "We don't want our schools and universities wasting money preparing to enforce a rule that may well be struck down," Skrmetti stated, underscording the pressing urgency for clarity ahead of the rule's planned rollout.

The contentious modifications to Title IX change the definition of sex discrimination to include "gender identity" and "sex characteristics," mandating that educational institutions from K-12 to colleges permit access to female sports teams and facilities for individuals who identify as female. The coalition behind the legal push, initially composed of six states, has grown, now including Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia. They claim the new regulations lack constitutional grounding and disregard established protocols for safeguarding women's rights established over the past 50 years.

"The Biden Administration’s assault on Title IX would end 50 years of protections and fairness," Attorney General Coleman told the press. His remarks tap into concerns that the reinterpretation of the civil rights law might undermine women's sports, among other issues. Compliance with the new federal regulation could also put universities at risk of losing federal education funding if they adhere instead to their state laws, presenting institutions with an actionable dilemma.

While awaiting the judge's ruling on the injunction, educational stakeholders and policymakers are closely monitoring the legal developments, keenly aware of their potential impact on millions of students and families across the participating states.