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U.S. judge grants nationwide injunction to halt Obama transgender policy

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A U.S. judge blocked Obama administration guidance that transgender public school students must be allowed to use bathrooms of their choice, granting a nationwide injunction sought by a group of 13 states led by Texas.

Reed O’Connor, a judge for the Northern District of Texas, said in a decision late on Sunday that the Obama administration did not follow proper procedures for notice and comment in issuing the guidelines. He also said the federal guidelines had the effect of law and contradict existing legislative and regulatory texts.

The ruling by O’Connor, an appointee of Republican President George W. Bush, gives an initial victory to the states, which filed their lawsuit amid building national conservative backlash to the Obama administration’s stance on transgender rights.

But the latest battle over U.S. civil rights is far from over. The Department of Justice said in a statement it was disappointed in the decision and was reviewing its options. Legal experts expect it will appeal.

Other courts have sided with the Obama administration, agreeing that transgender students can be protected by anti-discrimination laws.

“A ruling by a single judge in one circuit cannot and does not undo the years of clear legal precedent nationwide establishing that transgender students have the right to go to school without being singled out for discrimination,” said a statement from five groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), that have filed “friend of the court” briefs on behalf of transgender students. – READ MORE

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