The Obama Administration has done it this time! Its edict to public schools on transgender access to restrooms is nothing less than a national disaster. Remarkably, it assumes that character for a multiplicity of interested persons and affected parties.
For the formerly sovereign states, it represents the latest and most gross admission of their impotence. To schools, it testifies that even toilets and showers are now beyond their disciplinary control. For the LGBT community, it apparently recognizes that individual needs and sensitivities can no longer be appropriately negotiated with humane local administrators.
Even for President Obama and Hillary Clinton, it may well be the nasty mandate which elects Donald Trump.
This Republic was built upon a system that attempts to insure a respect and protection for minority rights. We have failed spectacularly in that goal on notable occasions. More than a century of black oppression and the WW II Japanese internment are among the sorry examples. In 1890, Idaho was admitted to the Union while denying full citizenship to its Mormons, Native Americans, Chinese and women.
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But as far as I can find, there is no widespread, systematic and deliberate disregard of elementary or secondary school pupil restroom access to any class or group. Given the great diversity of unique bathroom facility layouts among the 98,817 or so school buildings in America, can not this issue best and lawfully be addressed through case by case solutions?
Instead, we have witnessed the tragic conclusion to the modern era of the extortion of local citizens and sovereign states by the threat of withdrawal of massive federal funding. Beginning in 1974, the Feds forced the 55 mile speed limit, increased drinking ages and seat belts upon the formerly independent 50 states using the carrot and stick over millions in federal highway funds. We now arrive at this sorry episode whereby two national departments give a 72 hour notice as to what must happen daily, hourly and forever in shower facilities in 13,500 school districts in North Carolina and all other states.
Worst of all, to extend a questionable comfort to an estimated three tenths of one percent of students, the Obama Administration’s blackmail jeopardizes the educational access and experience of 50.1 million school pupils, including all of those in the LGBT community it proposes to respect.
This is not Pearl Harbor nor the Civil War. It is not 9-11. However, this ill-designed, wrongly-executed, overreaching, dramatic declaration demarks the illogical end to a once well balanced 200-year partnership between the states with their local citizens and a responsible, limited national government. That’s a tragedy.
Boise attorney David H. Leroy is a former Republican Idaho Attorney General and Lt. Governor.