Yesterday, I posted about the threat the growth of the administrative state poses for traditional religious believers. One under-appreciated aspect of this threat is title IX, which prohibits educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance from discriminating on the basis of sex. Of course, most educational institutions affiliated with traditional religious groups have no problem with a ban on sex discrimination, understood in traditional terms. As administrators expand the coverage of title IX –to cover transgender students, for example–those institutions can quickly find themselves on the wrong side of the law. And, because the large majority of such institutions cannot do without federal financial assistance, the pressure on them to change, or at least downplay, their religious convictions is great.
A new book from the Brookings Institution by Boston College political scientist Shep Melnick addresses the importance of title IX in our current culture wars. The book is The Transformation of Title IX: Regulating Gender Equality in Education. Here’s the description from the Brookings website:
One civil rights-era law has reshaped American society—and contributed to the country’s ongoing culture wars
Few laws have had such far-reaching impact as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Intended to give girls and women greater access to sports programs and other courses of study in schools and colleges, the law has since been used by judges and agencies to expand a wide range of antidiscrimination policies—most recently the Obama administration’s 2016 mandates on sexual harassment and transgender rights.
In this comprehensive review of how Title IX has been implemented, Boston College political science professor R. Shep Melnick analyzes how interpretations of “equal educational opportunity” have changed over the years. In terms accessible to non-lawyers, Melnick examines how Title IX has become a central part of legal and political campaigns to correct gender stereotypes, not only in academic settings but in society at large. Title IX thus has become a major factor in America’s culture wars—and almost certainly will remain so for years to come.
Many scholars have noted that the growth of government inevitably poses a challenge for religious exercise. Quite simply, as government expands to cover more and more aspects of daily life, and as the number of rules increases, the potential for conflict with citizens’ conduct grows–especially for citizens who dissent from trending social norms. These citizens can expect special trouble from the rise of the administrative state.
A new book on the growth of the administrative state by University of Colorado political scientist Joseph Postell, Bureaucracy in America: The Administrative State’s Challenge to Constitutional Government, has been getting a lot of attention. The publisher is the University of Missouri Press. Here’s the description from the press’s website:
The U.S. Constitution requires laws be made by elected representatives. Yet today, most policies are made by administrative agencies whose officials are not elected. Not coincidentally, many Americans increasingly question whether the political system works for the good of the people. In this trenchant intellectual history, Postell demonstrates how modern administrative law has attempted to restore the principles of American constitutionalism, but it has failed to be as effective as earlier approaches to regulation.
This CNN story reports that the White House has announced “revisions” to the contraceptives mandates that was the subject of both the Hobby Lobby and more particularly the Wheaton College litigation. But after reading the body of the story, it may be more precise to say that the White House has announced that it plans to revise the mandate. Here’s a quote from an Administration official: “In light of the Supreme Court order regarding Wheaton College,” said the official, “the Departments intend to augment their regulations to provide an alternative way for objecting nonprofit religious organizations to provide notification, while ensuring that enrollees in plans of such organizations receive separate coverage of contraceptive services without cost sharing.” Though the Wheaton College order was not a final disposition on the merits but only a preliminary injunction, the announcement suggests that the Administration believes that it may lose on the merits as well.
The story reports that the revised rule will be issued “within the month.”
Administrative law at its best.