South Dakota Joins Lawsuit Against U.S. Department of Education over Egregious Title IX Revisions

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May 8, 2024

Contact: Amelia Joy


South Dakota Joins Lawsuit Against U.S. Department of Education over Egregious Title IX Revisions


PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Governor Kristi Noem and Attorney General Marty Jackley announced that South Dakota has joined five other states in challenging President Biden’s attempt to dismantle Title IX, which would deny opportunities for women and girls.


We will not accept the Biden Administration’s infringement on the rights of women,” said Governor Noem. “South Dakota has led the nation in defending Title IX and ensuring fairness for women – we certainly aren’t going to stop now.”


The U.S. Department of Education’s recently released Final Rule disregards biological sex in favor of gender identity in education programs or activities. It is an insult to the women Title IX was designed to protect.


Governor Noem has been a staunch defender of the original purpose of Title IX. In 2022, the Governor signed the strongest bill in America to protect girls’ and women’s sports. She followed that action by leading a letter with 15 Republican governors urging the Biden Administration not to take this action. And, more than five months ago, Governor Noem led eight of her fellow Republican governors in urging the NCAA to rewrite its Transgender Student Athlete Policy.


Last week, South Dakota Department of Education Secretary Dr. Joe Graves advised South Dakota school districts not to comply with the revised Title IX Rule or change their policy pending this legal challenge.


“This rule dismantles more than 50 years of protecting and promoting opportunities for women in education and sports,” said Attorney General Marty Jackley. “The rule being challenged by the States which are part of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals requires schools and universities to allow men into women’s sports teams—robbing those women athletes of their own opportunities.”


South Dakota joins Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and North Dakota in filing this lawsuit. At least 21 other states across the country have now filed lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Education.


The Complaint summarizes the radical impact this Final Rule would have on the education system as we know it:


“[This Rule] requires States, schools, and universities to ignore biological sex in favor of self-professed ‘gender identity.’ Indeed, if allowed to take effect, that rule will gut the very athletic opportunities that Title IX was designed to provide; destroy the privacy protections women and girls currently enjoy in restrooms, locker rooms, shower facilities, and overnight accommodations; preempt numerous State laws; silence and threaten with investigation any student, faculty member, or administrator who doesn’t share the Department’s view of sex; and deny federal funding to any school or university that doesn’t adhere to those views.”


The lawsuit argues this Final Rule is contrary to the plain text of Title IX by redefining sex discrimination beyond the ordinary meaning of “on the basis of sex.” The lawsuit also asserts that the Final Rule violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the First Amendment, and the Spending Clause of the U.S. Constitution, among other arguments.


This Final Rule is unlawful, unconstitutional, and must be enjoined.