The Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from the College of the Ozarks, a Christian college in Missouri. The College had sued the Biden administration over its decision to protect transgender individuals from housing discrimination.
Rejecting Christian College's Appeal
The housing provision of the Fair Housing Act contains similar language to the workplace law, explicitly prohibiting discrimination based on sex. The connection between sex and transgender rights formed the basis for the Biden administration's interpretation of the law to include protection for transgender individuals. As per Yahoo! News, the Supreme Court's decision not to hear the College of the Ozarks' appeal maintains the lower court rulings and affirms the Biden administration's position on transgender housing protection. The impact of this decision goes beyond this specific case, as it further establishes a legal precedent for protecting transgender individuals from discrimination in various aspects of life.
Moreover, The Hill reported that lower courts, including the St. Louis-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, ruled favor of the Biden administration on procedural grounds. They found that the College of the Ozarks did not have legal standing to sue because the government had not attempted to enforce an anti-discrimination complaint against the school. The Biden administration defended its 2021 guidance by emphasizing that it does not require the College or any other housing provider to take specific actions. They also argued that the College had not alleged any past, current, or threatened enforcement related to the guidance.
In addition, the Supreme Court has declined to hear the College's appeal, thereby blocking the progress of its ongoing lawsuit. The decision has come as a significant victory for LGBTQ students, especially in light of the legal battles being fought in Republican-led states over laws that restrict the participation of transgender students in activities or areas that align with their gender identity. Accordingly, the lower courts are currently grappling with these challenges.
CO's Fight Against President Joe Biden
In a legal battle of the College of Ozark against President Joe Biden's recent ban on housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Andrew Bailey, the Attorney General of Missouri, has announced his support for CO, Springfield News-Letter reported. On Tuesday, Mar. 28, Bailey announced that his office had spearheaded a group of 19 states to submit an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of a lawsuit filed by a private religious college. According to Bailey's brief, the federal directive has been criticized for lacking "reasoned decision-making" as it fails to consider or weigh the concerns of religious organizations.
As mentioned, late in 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed a federal lawsuit, ruling that the College did not have standing or jurisdiction to pursue the case. In April 2021, a lawsuit was filed. The College requested the U.S. Supreme Court last month to review the decision. The Alliance for Defending Freedom (ADF) is representing the Point Lookout campus legally. Additionally, the College reportedly teaches that biological sex is an individual's "God-given, objective gender," regardless of whether it aligns with their internal sense of "gender identity." The College has implemented a policy prohibiting individuals who identify as a gender different from their biological sex from residing in dormitories designated for the opposite gender. It means biological males who identify as females are not allowed to live in female dormitories, and vice versa.