May 06, 2016
Governor Pat McCrory (R-N.C.) has already stared down billionaire CEOs, the liberal media, and the LGBT activist bullies who want to topple North Carolina law. He's certainly not going to be intimidated by the threats of Obama's big government. Until this Wednesday, the controversy over the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act (H.B. 2) had all but died down -- when the president's team of wannabe legislators at the Department of Justice attempted its favorite form of blackmail: financial.
As part of a broader campaign to sink H.B. 2, the DOJ is tag-teaming with the Department of Education to bully the state into reversing its law -- or lose federal funds. Since mid-April, the administration has been throwing anything at the wall in hopes that one of its complaints will stick. In its latest barrage, federal officials are arguing that the gender-specific bathroom bill violates everything from the Civil Rights Act to Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments. As part of this week's letter, the DOJ's Civil Rights Division insists that requiring people to use the restroom based on their biological gender is "sex discrimination." Giving the state less than a week to respond, the DOJ demands that North Carolina stop implementing H.B. 2 or face judicial action.
Of course, as judicial expert Ed Whelan points out, the Obama team can't simply rewrite a 50-year-old law to suit their agenda. In doing so, he argues, the administration is assigning meaning to the Civil Rights Act that Congress never intended. "[R]eserving women's bathrooms, locker rooms, and shower facilities for biological females (and men's bathrooms, locker rooms, and shower facilities for biological males) does not in fact involve any discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Rather, under the guise of nondiscrimination rhetoric, the Obama administration is pressing the substantive claim that gender identity trumps biological sex under Title VII -- in other words, that employers must discriminate in favor of gender identity. That is a policy position that transgender advocates are welcome to push for in the legislative arena. But it is a baseless and absurd reading of Title VII."
What the president's agencies are essentially saying is: "We don't want to try to get new laws. That's hard work. You'd have to try to tell people stuff they know is nuts. Let's just claim to read all this into the laws that are now on the books. So what that no one ever thought this before? We have the judges now. No one can stop us. Anyone who tries is evil or stupid." But there is someone who can stop them: Governor McCrory. As the state's leaders made abundantly clear yesterday, they have no intention of throwing in the towel to satisfy the whims of an out-of-control federal government. "We will take no action by Monday," House Speaker Tim Moore (R) told reporters Thursday. "That deadline will come and go. We don't ever want to lose any money, but we're not going to get bullied by the Obama administration to take action prior to Monday's date. That's not how this works... They can't just -- through an administrative action by the attorney general's office -- issue a decree that has the force and effect of law over this state."
North Carolina Senator Phil Berger was even more blunt about the larger problem. "People are angry, and one of the reasons they're angry is because of the failure -- particularly of the federal government -- to do the things that the people know need to be done, and yet they go off on a tangent like this and push radical social engineering." Now that the White House is starting to realize what a losing issue this is in public opinion, even the president is trying to distance himself from the controversy. In an effort to downplay Obama's involvement (which is laughable considering that he made North Carolina the centerpiece of his comments in England), White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters this intimidation campaign was completely independent of the president. "When it comes to enforcement actions, those are decisions that are made entirely by attorneys at the Department of Justice." Maybe the president is starting to realize that its obsession with potty politics is hurting his credibility on the real issues facing America. That's certainly a frustration echoing across the country, as FRC's latest ad on the president's favorite topic explodes across social media.
And President Obama isn't the only one wishing away the controversy. Down $3.5 billion and counting, Target executives are finally ready to come to the table with the organizers of the boycott at AFA. Fox News's Todd Starnes tweeted the news that the company has accepted a meeting with opponents, which is a significant victory for the almost 1.2 million people protesting the stores' genderless bathroom policy. Obviously, if Target thought the backlash would tail off, they wouldn't draw further attention to it like this.
Cases like Palatine's are keeping the heat turned up on big business, the administration, and LGBT activists. The Illinois school district is fighting back after the superintendent caved to the DOE's demands and opened the girls' locker room to a confused 11th grade boy. Now, Alliance Defending Freedom explains, teenage girls are so horrified and embarrassed that "one girl has started wearing her gym clothes underneath her regular clothes all day, so she only has to peel off a layer instead of exposing her unclothed body in the presence of a biological male in the locker room."
This is the kind of lunacy awaiting the entire culture if the Left gets its way. It's time for Congress to stand up and call the DOE and DOJ on the carpet for their unilateral redefinition of Title IX. Consider this, if the White House can control the bathroom policies of the nation, then what is beyond its reach? The answer is absolutely nothing. And at that point, the only thing Congress will do is add to the burden of taxpayers. It's time for Republicans, who have the constitutional authority, to bring the imperial White House under control. For the view on the ground in North Carolina, don't miss my interview with Lt. Governor Dan Forest from yesterday's "Washington Watch."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.