Civil Rights LGBT

The Justice Department Says North Carolina’s HB2 is Illegal

The Department of Justice has informed the North Carolina state government that their pro-discrimination and anti-transgender "bathroom bill" HB2 is illegal and violates the Civil Rights Act.

The department addressed a letter to Governor Pat McCrory to inform him that HB2 violates Title IX and Title VII.

If the finding is upheld, North Carolina could lose federal education funding. During the current school year, state public schools received $861 million. In 2014-2015, the University of North Carolina system got $1.4 billion. [...]

Speaking to business leaders Wednesday night, McCrory called the letter “something we’ve never seen regarding Washington overreach in my lifetime.”

Governor McCrory is right in at least one sense. He's right that we've never had a Department of Justice that was willing to forcefully stand up for vulnerable people and, particularly, members of the LGBTQ community in the manner that is has under President Obama.

What happens now?

There isn't actually a great deal of suspense in this case. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals recently sided with a student in Virginia and ruled that his school's policy against transgender bathroom use is unconstitutional. The 4th Circuit in D.C. effectively sided with the Department of Justice with that ruling and against the state of North Carolina which falls under the jurisdiction of the 4th Circuit.

North Carolina's HB2 will have it's day in court unless Governor McCrory and the state legislature relent, but if they don't we already know how the 4th Circuit will rule.

The real question and end-game is if this will move beyond the 4th Circuit and reach the Supreme Court. I expect it will because similar lawsuits will be filed against so-called "bathroom bills" in other federal jurisdictions.