More than 20 Republican attorneys general have filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration over the Department of Agriculture’s threat to withdraw funding from school meal assistance programs unless the schools submit to the regime’s “expansive and unlawful interpretation of federal antidiscrimination laws.”
The lawsuit, led by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, was filed on Tuesday. The coalition of 22 State AGs claim that the federal government has adopted “a new and unlawful application of the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County as it applies to antidiscrimination requirements.”
In a statement Tuesday, Slatery said, “these transformative changes were made without providing the States and other stakeholders the opportunity for input as required by the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).”
The coalition of attorneys general said in a letter to Biden last month, that a new USDA guidance greatly expanded the concept of “discrimination on the basis of sex” to include gender identity and sexual orientation, and did “much more than offer direction.”
“It imposes new—and unlawful—regulatory measures on state agencies and operators receiving federal financial assistance from the USDA,” the letter stated. “And the inevitable result is regulatory chaos that would threaten the effective provision of essential nutritional services to some of our most vulnerable citizens.”
The AGs allege in the lawsuit that the Biden administration “inappropriately expanded the law far beyond what statutory text, regulatory requirements, judicial precedent, and the U.S.
To be clear, the States do not deny benefits based on a household member’s sexual orientation or gender identity. But the States do challenge the unlawful and unnecessary
new obligations and liabilities that the Memoranda and Final Rule attempt to impose—obligations that apparently stretch as far as ending sex-separated living facilities and athletics and mandating the use of biologically inaccurate preferred pronouns.
“This case is, yet again, about a federal agency trying to change law, which is Congress’ exclusive prerogative,” said Attorney General Slatery in his statement on Tuesday. “The USDA simply does not have that authority. We have successfully challenged the Biden Administration’s other attempts to rewrite law and we will challenge this as well.”
Tennessee has successfully challenged similar guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Slatery noted. “The District Court recently enjoined the federal government from enforcing that guidance as applied directly to schools and employers.”
The 22-state coalition asked the Court to “declare the USDA memoranda and rule invalid and unlawful and to prohibit enforcement.”
The attorneys general who signed on to the lawsuit, filed Tuesday, are from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.