A judge in Washington, D.C., has denied an attempt by 17 Blue State Attorneys General as well as the District of Columbia to delay implementation of new Education Department rules requiring colleges and universities provide students accused of sexual misconduct with basic due process rights.
Judge Carl J. Nichols – a President Donald Trump appointee – denied the AGs motion to block the new Title IX regulations. The AGs made numerous arguments against the new regulations, including the fact that the new regulations provide due process to accused students. As The Daily Wire previously reported, the lawsuit filed by the AGs claimed the new rules would “reverse decades of effort to end the corrosive effects of sexual harassment on equal access to education,” ignoring the fact that denying due process makes it easier for false accusations to limit access to education and does nothing to stop actual sexual harassment.
The AGs also took issue with the fact that the new regulations limit who can make an accusation (the new rules state the accuser must be a student of the school), are unfair. The whole point of Title IX wading into sexual harassment and assault was to claim accusers had their educational opportunities limited by a college that ignored their sexual assault claims. If the accuser isn’t even a student, their educational opportunities can’t be limited by a school they don’t attend.
Judge Nichols denied these claims and others in his ruling, published Wednesday. At various points in Nichols’ ruling, he scolds the AGs for attempting to supplant their views with that of the Education Department. For example, the AGs argued schools should be responsible for adjudicating sexual assaults that occurred off-campus, such as at apartment buildings. The Education Department, however, adopted a more narrow view of what situations fall under the purview of the college, explaining that the assault was under the school’s discretion if it occurred at a place or event where “the recipient exercised substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurs.”
As Nichols ruled, “the Final Rule is rooted in the text of Title IX itself, and the Court cannot supplant the Department’s view of its own authority with Plaintiffs’ preference for a broader one.”
As author and professor K.C. Johnson noted, Nichols dismissed “blue-states’ lengthy complaints about fair grievance procedures in one paragraph, implies they weren’t serious,” and suggests it was “Hard to imagine any court arguing that x-examination is some sort of unfair or gender-biased procedure.”
Nichols pointed to several concerns he had with the regulations, but ultimately said he could not rule simply on his own beliefs that differed from the Education Department. Further, Nichols was less enthusiastic about the new Title IX guidelines in his ruling that U.S. District Court Judge John G. Koeltl was in his ruling last week. Koeltl was appointed by President Bill Clinton.
One of the Blue State AGs’ arguments was that schools did not have enough time to comply with the new Title IX rules, even though drafts of the new rules have been available for two years and the final rule was released in early May. Judge Nichols even pointed out that the AGs waited more than a month after the final rule was published to file their motion to block implementation. He also noted that many schools have already managed to update their policies to comply with the new rules.
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