|Anti-gay bigot, Jeff Sessions with Paul "Reverse Robin Hood" Ryan|
As this blog and numerous others pointed out, new Attorney General Jeff Sessions has a documented history of being a racist and homophobe. Once sworn in, Sessions has wasted no time in proving that he is a menace to the LGBT community. Indeed, not even 24 hours passed before Sessions directed Justice Department attorneys seeking to narrow an injunction against the Obama administration's efforts to afford protections to transgender students. Other minorities need to take note that they too will now be targets for Sessions' white supremacist Justice Department. When added to Der Trumpenführer's promise to sign the foul "First Amendment Defense Act" which would grant special rights to Christofascists, it all equates to open war of LGBT Americans - something I warned "friends" who voted for Trump about repeatedly. Politico looks at this disturbing but expected development. Here are highlights:
The Trump administration has found a nationwide injunction it can live with.
In the slew of lawsuits challenging President Donald Trump's travel ban executive order, Justice Department lawyers have repeatedly argued that — whatever the alleged legal defects in his order — nationwide injunctions on its enforcement are improper.
However, on Friday night, Justice Department attorneys handling a lawsuit over President Barack Obama's efforts to protect transgender individuals dropped an effort to temporarily rein in a nationwide injunction a Texas federal judge imposed last year. That injunction prohibited the feds from enforcing the Obama administration's view that existing civil rights laws cover discrimination against those who are transgender.
Last November, the Justice Department appealed U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor's ruling to the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Justice Department attorneys urged the appeals court to limit the injunction so it only applied in the 13 states involved in filing the suit challenging the transgender policy.
That request to narrow O'Connor's injunction was set to be argued before a three-judge 5th Circuit panel on Tuesday in Austin, Texas, but on Friday evening the Justice Department withdrew the stay request.
No explanation for the change in position was given to the court. The move came one day after former Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) was sworn-in as attorney general.
Dropping the stay request avoids Justice Department lawyers having to appear before the 5th Circuit this week to argue for the stay while likely having little clarity to offer the court on how what stance the Trump administration plans to take on the transgender issues at the heart of the dispute.
The Justice Department has not completely abandoned the position that O'Connor's injunction was too broad. Federal government lawyers could pursue that claim as the appeal goes forward, but with their action Friday they have given up the effort to keep enforcing Obama's interpretation of transgender rights while the appeal proceeds.
The Supreme Court might give some guidance on that issue relatively soon. The justices are set to hear arguments next month on a case involving a transgender Virginia student who was born female but sought to use the boys' room at his public high school.
Normally, the justices would decide the case by June. However, it's possible the court might drop the case altogether, not rule squarely on the transgender rights issue, or even punt the case until they have a ninth colleague on the currently shorthanded high court bench.