Thursday, May 12, 2016


What began as a local issue in Charlotte, North Carolina, has now been catapulted to the national political stage, with expectations of privacy and equality proving to be harder than expected to reconcile in the “bathroom law” debate.

The Justice Department has once again stretched the limits of its power, engaging in what North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has called a “baseless and blatant overreach.”

But, despite unrelenting opposition and threats of federal funding cuts, Mr. McCrory has appropriately refused to back down.

On Monday, he responded to the Justice Department’s unrealistic, three-business day demand to suspend implementation of his state’s “bathroom law” by filing a lawsuit against the federal government.

“The Obama administration is bypassing Congress by attempting to rewrite the law and set restroom policies for public and private employers across the country,” Mr. McCrory said in a statement following his lawsuit’s filing.

Hours later, the Justice Department filed a civil rights lawsuit, seeking declaratory relief and once again threatening to curtail funding to the state of North Carolina.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Loretta Lynch likened North Carolina’s “bathroom law” to the Jim Crow laws, a ridiculous assertion likely employed by the federal government as an attempt to squash dissent.

Currently, North Carolina is the only state that has restricted transgender bathroom use.

Similar legislation was vetoed after being passed in South Dakota and failed outright to pass in South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and Virginia.

However, with nine other states confronted with pending “bathroom laws,” the issue is affecting more citizens than ever before.

As Mr. McCrory explained in a news conference, “This is not just a North Carolina issue, this is now a national issue.”

Only time will tell whether North Carolina’s common-sense privacy policy will prevail.

But, with attacks being launched by both sides and lines continuing to be drawn, it is improbable that an amicable resolution will be reached anytime soon on the “bathroom law” debate.

With federal case law largely divided on the issue of transgender rights, it is likely that this will ultimately end in a battle between both sides at the Supreme Court.

• Madison Gesiotto is a staff editor for the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law. The author’s views are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.

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