The Trump administration—not a big fan of injunctions lately or being told what to do, period—is also obviously fine with legal restrains so long as they help pave the way for intolerance and inequity.
On Friday, the New York Times reported, Justice Department attorneys dropped their effort to challenge an injunction issued in August by Texas Federal District Court Judge Reed O’Connor that blocked the enactment of Obama administration guidelines to protect transgender students’ equal access to facilities such as bathrooms and locker rooms in accordance with federal civil rights law.
The Obama administration had been in the process of appealing the federal judge’s ruling, arguing that it should only apply to states participating in the injunction, rather than the entire country. Oral arguments for the appeal case were scheduled to begin on Tuesday, but sadly there is at least one member of Trump’s wildly heteronormative administration who knows what day of the week it is and believes that curtailing the rights of transgender people is a just and good use of their time. The latter at least is no surprise given the virulent anti-LGBTQ streak that runs through Trump’s White House staff.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality condemned the administration’s decision to withdraw opposition to the ban, calling it a “callous attack [on] the dignity and safety of transgender students,” according to the Times.
The dropped challenge to the injunction won’t change much in the immediate future—the ban was already in place, after all—but it sends a chilling message to LGBTQ Americans that the Trump administration has no intention to fight on their behalf for basic freedoms and respect. And it does nothing to allay fears prompted by a draft of an executive order on “religious freedom” that was leaked to the press earlier this month. Trump declined to sign the order, which would have weakened laws that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination and made it easier for some private companies to withhold contraception from employee health care plans, but many Republican-controlled states have begun pushing similar legislation already.