Protests couldn’t convince North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to scrap the state’s new “bathroom law.” Economic threats couldn’t do it. A whirlwind of bad national press couldn’t do it, and aging rock stars couldn’t do it.
Out of options, the Obama administration decided it would simply force North Carolina to get in line. The Justice Department sent a letter to both the governor and the University of North Carolina last week, warning them that by enforcing the new law, they would be in violation of federal civil rights protections. The DOJ letter gave the state until Monday to respond.
McCrory asked for an extension to the deadline, but the DOJ said he could only get it if he admitted publicly that the law was discriminatory. He refused.
“I’m not going to publicly announce that something discriminates, which is agreeing with their letter, because we’re really talking about a letter in which they’re trying to define gender identity,” McCrory said on Fox News. “And there is no clear identification or definition of gender identity. It’s the federal government being a bully.”
He met the deadline in dramatic fashion: By filing a lawsuit against the federal government.
Accusing the DOJ of “baseless and blatant overreach,” the lawsuit seeks an injunction against any federal action that could harm North Carolina economically.
“This is an attempt to unilaterally rewrite long-established federal civil rights laws in a manner that is wholly inconsistent with the intent of Congress and disregards decades of statutory interpretation by the courts,” says the complaint.
The Justice Department, as of Monday afternoon, has not responded to the suit. Nor have they specifically confirmed how the federal government plans to punish the state for its “discrimination.” In the worst-case scenario, the Obama administration could withhold billions in federal funds. The effect this would have on the state’s education and transportation budgets would be disastrous.
If this were just about bathrooms, McCrory would be out of his mind to put his state’s economic future in such grave peril. Some conservatives have already encouraged the governor to denounce the law if it means protecting jobs.
Now that the federal government has gotten involved, however, this goes beyond the question of where transgenders should go to the bathroom. It is, in fact, similar to the real problem with Obama’s amnesty orders. Even those who supported a path to citizenship were outraged at the president’s unlawful attempt to overrule congressional law. There, Obama pretended he was merely exercising “prosecutorial discretion.” Here, the DOJ is pretending there is something in our federal civil rights laws that mentions – let alone protects – transgender individuals.
For the umpteenth time, Obama is trying to expand the power of the executive branch. Hopefully, the courts will recognize this gambit for what it is.