NJ Attorney General Co-Leads National Effort to Defend Title IX Protections


New Jersey, California, and Pennsylvania File Amicus Briefs to Uphold Protections Against Sex-Based Discrimination in Education.

NEW JERSEY - Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced that New Jersey, California, and Pennsylvania have filed a new series of amicus briefs in federal courts across the country to defend Title IX protections for students against sex-based discrimination and harassment. This collaborative effort aims to support the U.S. Department of Education’s Final Rule, which safeguards transgender students from sex discrimination and reverses the prior administration’s rollback of Title IX protections.

The Division on Civil Rights (DCR) and state partners are addressing multiple federal court challenges to the Final Rule, which ensures nondiscrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs receiving federal financial assistance. The new rule explicitly protects transgender students and restores broader protections against sexual harassment, previously weakened by the 2020 Rule. Amicus briefs were filed in Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas.

Legal Challenges and Advocacy Efforts

Following the release of the Final Rule, several states filed lawsuits to block its implementation, seeking a return to the 2020 standards that limited Title IX protections. These states argue that the narrow interpretation of Title IX is unsupported by law or the Department of Education’s longstanding policies. The 2020 changes were previously contested by New Jersey and other states due to the increased vulnerability of students to sexual assault and harassment.

Since 2020, New Jersey, California, and Pennsylvania have led litigation against the weakening of Title IX protections. This includes submitting a comment letter supporting the Department of Education’s reversal of the 2020 changes and filing amicus briefs to defend the Final Rule.

“Fair and nondiscriminatory treatment of all students leads to better outcomes, including reduced suicidal ideations, fewer suicide attempts, and enhanced well-being and functioning. It is astonishing to me that this is still a matter of debate among certain states,” said Attorney General Platkin.

“It is more important than ever that we continue our work to prevent sex-based discrimination, protect students from sexual harassment, and ensure equal access to educational opportunity for all students,” said Sundeep Iyer, Director of the Division on Civil Rights. “Discrimination and exclusion based on sex can cause enormous harm to students and their communities, and we will continue to stand up for the rights of these students in court.”

Details of the Amicus Briefs

The briefs aim to protect students' rights to equal education free from gender-based harassment or sex discrimination in the following jurisdictions:

The briefs highlight the positive impacts of Title IX protections in states where they are fully implemented, arguing that the Final Rule benefits LGBTQ+ students without compromising privacy or imposing significant costs on schools. It aligns with Title IX's text and enables effective prohibition of harassment and remediation of hostile environments. Additionally, the Final Rule does not violate the Constitution’s Spending Clause, requiring states to refrain from discrimination in exchange for federal funding.

Broad Support and Legal Team

Attorney General Platkin’s efforts are co-led by California Attorney General Rob Bonta and Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry, with support from the Attorneys General of Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

The case is managed by Assistant Section Chief Andrew Yang and Deputy Attorneys General Amanda Morejón, Giancarlo Piccinini, and Lauren Van Driesen, under the supervision of Section Chief Jessica Palmer and Assistant Attorney General David Leit of the Special Litigation Section within the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group.

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