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Case Name Women's Liberation Front v. U.S. Department of Justice ED-NM-0002
Docket / Court 1:16-cv-00915-WPL-KBM ( D.N.M. )
State/Territory New Mexico
Case Type(s) Education
Special Collection Transgender Bathroom Access Cases
Case Summary
On August 11, 2016, the Women's Liberation Front ("WoLF") - an unincorporated association of radical feminists dedicated to the total liberation of women and fighting to end male violence, regain reproductive sovereignty for women, and preserve women-only spaces - filed this lawsuit in the U.S ... read more >
On August 11, 2016, the Women's Liberation Front ("WoLF") - an unincorporated association of radical feminists dedicated to the total liberation of women and fighting to end male violence, regain reproductive sovereignty for women, and preserve women-only spaces - filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. The plaintiff sued the Department of Justice, alleging that the Department's May 13 Guidance, which required schools to provide restrooms and locker rooms on the basis of sex, but allowed transgender students access to such facilities consistent with their gender identity, violated the Administrative Procedure Act, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1872, and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the US Constitution. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the May 13 Guidance violated the express terms of Title IX, which provides women with their own facilities, by expanding the definition of "sex" beyond its biological definition, and equating its definition with the definition of "gender identity."

On October 24, 2016, the DOJ filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. On October 31, 2016, WoLF filed a motion to stay, which was granted by Magistrate Judge William P. Lynch on November 2, 2016, pending the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., which was expected to address the proper interpretation of Title IX and its coverage of trans students. However, on January 20, 2017, Donald Trump became President of the United States. His administration refused to support the previous DOJ's efforts to protect trans students from discrimination. Therefore, before the Supreme Court could hear Gloucester County School Board v G.G., the Department of Justice withdrew the May 13 Guidance.

With the defendant's withdrawal of the May 13 Guidance, the plaintiff no longer had a legal claim in this suit. So, on March 16, 2017, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed its complaint. Because voluntary dismissals are without prejudice, the plaintiff can re-open this case if the Department of Justice were to reinstate the May 13 Guidance.

Saeeda Joseph-Charles - 12/15/2016
Mackenzie Walz - 03/20/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
Sex discrimination
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.
Defendant(s) Department of Justice
Plaintiff Description Women's Liberation Front ("WoLF"), an unincorporated association of radical feminists dedicated to the total liberation of women fighting to, among other things, end male violence, regain reproductive sovereignty for women, and preserve women-only spaces
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filing Year 2016
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  Dear Colleague Letter [rescinding prior letters relating to bathroom access for trans students]
U.S. Department of Education
Date: Feb. 22, 2017
By: Sandra Battle & T.E. Wheeler (U.S. Department of Education)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. [Scotusblog page]
Scotusblog.com
Date: Feb. 7, 2017
(Scotusblog)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  G.G. V. Gloucester County School Board -- ACLU's Case Page
ACLU
Date: Oct. 16, 2016
By: ACLU
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students
www.ed.gov
Date: May 13, 2016
By: Catherine E. Lhamon and Vanita Gupta (U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Examples of Policies and Emerging Practices for Supporting Transgender Students
www.ed.gov
Date: May 2016
By: United States Department of Education
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:16-cv-00915-JAP-KBM (D.N.M.)
ED-NM-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/16/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
ED-NM-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/11/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Molzen, Karen Ballard (D.N.M.) [Magistrate]
ED-NM-0002-9000
Parker, James Aubrey (D.N.M.)
ED-NM-0002-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bookbinder, David (Virginia)
ED-NM-0002-0001 | ED-NM-0002-9000
Twohig, R. Raymond Jr. (New Mexico)
ED-NM-0002-0001 | ED-NM-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Berwick, Benjamin Leon (District of Columbia)
ED-NM-0002-9000
Nestler, Emily B. (District of Columbia)
ED-NM-0002-9000

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