National Review‘s David French suggests that states should reject federal funding if they wish to remain free from executive actions such as the Obama administration’s directive on school bathrooms [emphasis mine]:
Without an act of Congress, without a ruling from the Supreme Court, and without even going through the motions of the regulatory rule-making process, the administration issued a letter drafting every single public educational institution in the country to implement the extreme edge of the sexual revolution…
…We must fix our education system or slowly but surely lose our culture. Indeed, virtually every other conservative endeavor — whether it’s winning elections, transforming media, or infiltrating pop culture — will fail if the entire edifice of public education is arrayed against us. The system, however, can’t be reformed from within: It’s stacked top-to-bottom with progressive activists even in red states.
States should consider rejecting federal education funding entirely (Texas is considering doing just that). At the very least, charter schools should be completely disentangled — and not just from public employees’ unions but also from federal funds (in order to insulate them from federal influence); voucher systems should be dramatically expanded — giving every family the option to spend their share of tax dollars at the school of their choice; and private institutions and philanthropists should step up to provide needed funding. Indeed, private citizens don’t have to wait for government reform. Scholarship funds can expand the ranks of tuition-paying private-school students immediately, and coalitions of churches can provide substantial support for their communities’ best private schools.
But why couldn’t a Republican president (Trump, for example) just simply reverse the order? Let’s ignore for the moment whether Trump would even want to, considering his mixed messages on the subject of transgender bathrooms in schools; let’s just assume for the sake of argument that he would indeed like to negate it. It would seem an easy thing to do, wouldn’t it? A president could just issue another directive undoing Obama’s.
But the Departments of Justice and Education (the Civil Rights Division and the Office for Civil Rights, respectively) issued the directive, not Obama. The real power behind the Obama administration’s recent order on school bathrooms (and much else that this administration has done) is likely to have been the Department of Justice, because the letter frames the new policy as a civil rights issue (sex discrimination) under Title IX.
Which brings us to an important influence this administration has had on the DOJ: Obama has been conducting his own Gramscian march through that institution. As J. Christian Adams has been chronicling for quite some time, this administration has been busy transforming the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division into a leftist activist group:
In 2011, we produced the Every Single One series for PJ Media about an unprecedented wave of ideological hiring of leftist attorneys into the career ranks of the Justice Department. The series documented the partisan and radical background of every single one of the 113 new Justice Department lawyers hired into the Obama Civil Rights Division from January 2009 to January 2011…
With the help of PJ Media, we will now be updating that revealing report…
…the Obama Justice Department has assembled a law firm of hundreds of fringe leftists to enforce a brave new vision of civil rights law.
Why the Civil Rights Division? Simple — it may be one of the most powerful components of the entire federal government. If a president wanted to “fundamentally transform” the nation, he would likely start with the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.
The tentacles of the Division reach into virtually every crevice of American life. Federal statutes, under the banner of protecting civil rights, reach home lending, football stadium and theater seating, voting, elections, education, college admissions, apartment rentals, prisons, hiring practices, the use of English, special education programs, religious liberty, abortion clinic protests, arrests, law enforcement, voter rolls, insane asylums, state and local government hiring, swimming pool lift chairs, bathtub design, Spanish language ballots, school discipline, and even if boys can dress in drag in high school…
This is the crux of the matter, and it’s important information about which the vast majority of Americans are unaware. Could a Republican president reverse this trend?
Not easily. But with determination and knowledge, that Republican president were determined and knowledgeable, the following approach might help:
Most of the lawyers we featured in 2011 are embedded career civil servants and cannot be removed because of the restrictions of a merit protection system 100 years out of date.
…[But an] incoming president can also reassign Senior Executive Service staff to other areas of the Justice Department (or other executive agencies), and even far outside of Washington, D.C., where they can no longer engage in the political mischief and obstructionism that is their raison d’etre.
Importantly, many of the most recent hires we will name are still within their probationary periods as federal employees.
As I wrote recently, I think that the directive of the Obama administration on transgender students in public school bathrooms is likely to anger a lot of people (even many liberal Democrats) about federal government intrusion into local control of education. The GOP candidates have the opportunity to exploit that anger and emphasize that they favor localities regaining the upper hand in decisions involving the education of children.
Whether it be Trump or other down-ticket GOP candidates, this is an issue that could resonate, and it is not tied to specific policies such as what bathrooms transgender students will use or the curriculum of Common Core. It has to do with whether the federal government will further take over an important societal function—the education of children—that has traditionally been something over which parents and communities have wanted to exercise a great deal of control.
[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]DONATE
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