During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump initially suggested he supported transgender rights during the campaign, but later retreated saying it should be left to the states.
Now, just two days after Jeff Sessions became Attorney General, his administration is signaling a step back from support for trans protections in a current lawsuit in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Justice Department took a step back Friday from its prior position of advancing transgender people’s rights under existing civil rights laws. On just the second day of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ tenure at the helm of the Justice Department, the federal government filed a notice in the lawsuit Texas and other states had brought against the Obama administration’s pro-transgender policies.
The moves taken in the filing — a joint filing made with the states — suggest that the federal government’s position on the pending legal questions surrounding transgender people’s rights could be changing soon. At the least, it suggests the new administration is pulling back while it determines the position it will be taking in the case.
The Justice Department announced in the short filing that it was withdrawing its request that the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit limit a lower court’s nationwide injunction of the pro-transgender policies to instead cover only those states that had brought the litigation. 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.