Why does the federal government need to make demands and issue ultimatums on the issue of bathrooms in North Carolina? Most rational people understand this is an exercise in absurdity and federal overreach. But in the new era of ever-expanding civil rights regulations, the U.S. Department of Justice believes the law requires it. In a Tuesday press conference, Attorney General Loretta Lynch ran through a series of illogical leaps to try to summon North Carolinians and their leadership to its knees. Gov. Pat McCrory was wise not to take the bait.
As for Lynch, comparing a media-manufactured crisis to Jim Crow is demeaning to the federal legacy of action on segregation and civil rights. No federal legislation has ever been passed to equate discrimination based on sex as applying to gender identification, despite any decrees that emanate from the president. This is why McCrory has filed a lawsuit to clarify what federal law actually means. “We believe a court, rather than a federal agency, should tell our state, our nation and employers across the country what the law requires,” declared McCrory.
But still, all the federal courts can do is affirm or deny the interpretation of Title IX and Title VII by unelected bureaucrats as it relates to discrimination based on gender identification. It would be helpful if Congress could clarify through actual legislation the interpretation of these laws, but Congress lacks so much moral courage they are unable to even place paltry limits on federal spending.
It’s true that common sense laws concerning privacy and long-accepted norms about sex may well be overturned by activist courts. This is nothing new, but it only points to our perpetual crisis of federal encroachment. And yes, we’ve evolved culturally in many ways since America’s founding in the 18th century, but the founders will continually be proven right about the principles of federalism and the danger of centralizing power and ceding control to a distant regulatory body.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was enacted to increase female participation in sports in schools but has now morphed into previously unimaginable social experiments. McCrory, not known as a crusader for social conservatism, understands that the power to interpret law does not rest with the Executive Branch.
This issue has divided people across the state, just as it divides people across the country. People who suffer from gender identity disorders are deserving of our compassion. This is a complicated issue that will unfortunately, like most contemporary debates, be harnessed for more federal power and control at the expense of the citizenry.
In an interview with Judy Woodruff on the PBS News Hour Tuesday, McCrory called for more federal action on the matter. He is leading the charge for national clarification on the transgender issue. While his political reasoning is sound, the states have already yielded too much federal power to the national government. It’s time to reaffirm the basic tenets of federalism and the 10th Amendment.
As the governor noted, this is now a national issue, and the Department of Justice could potentially sue every business that employs more than 15 people for having normative bathroom policies. But it is far better to once again affirm constitutional republicanism than to selectively enforce laws based on the ideology of those in power.