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Oregon AG Leads Coalition Defending Title IX

  • Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum led a coalition of 19 states and the District of Columbia in filing an amicus brief in support of students who brought a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon opposing the U.S. Department of Education’s (“DOE”) implementation of religious exemptions from Title IX anti-discrimination laws, which prohibit sex discrimination in federally-funded higher education institutions.
  • The amicus brief challenges DOE rules issued in 2020 under the Trump administration that broadened eligibility criteria for what it means for a school to be “controlled by a religious organization” and therefore eligible for exemption under Title IX. The DOE also eliminated a requirement that colleges seeking to claim a religious exemption under Title IX advise the DOE of their intent in writing, which the AGs claim effectively allows for schools to invoke the exemption without notice at any time.
  • In the amicus brief, the coalition asserts, among other things, that the DOE acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it promulgated the new rules and the rule changes are inconsistent with and contravene the text and purpose of Title IX’s religious exemption. In addition, the AGs assert that the rule eliminating the written notice requirement compounds the problems created by broadening exemption eligibility by making it probable that students could unknowingly enroll in schools that believe themselves exempt from Title IX, even though the schools have not invoked the exemption publicly.