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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause prevents West Virginia and Arkansas from carrying out laws that exclude transgender girls from women's sports and ban gender-affirming care, respectively, the Justice Department argued Thursday in two statements of interest for separate lawsuits.

Why it matters: They are the Justice Department's first direct statements on the record number of bills targeting trans youth. The statements come after the White House repeatedly deferred to the DOJ on whether it will take action against the predominately Republican-backed legislation.

The agency filed statements of interest in two ACLU-backed lawsuits:

  • One was brought by the family of a West Virginia transgender girl, who say the state has barred their daughter from trying out for her school's cross-country team because she is trans.
    • "To be sure, there remain significant barriers to providing full equity in athletics for female students. But permitting participation by transgender girls, who make up 'approximately one half of one percent' of the United States' population, is not one of them," the Justice Department's statement of interest in the West Virginia lawsuit reads.
  • The other lawsuit was filed on behalf of four trans kids and their families in response to an Arkansas ban on gender-affirming care, which was unsuccessfully vetoed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R).
    • "Prohibiting medically necessary care in the manner proscribed [in the Arkansas' law] amounts fo intentional discrimination against transgender minors on the basis of sex," the DOJ said in its statement of interest in the Arkansas lawsuit.

Go deeper: Which states have banned trans youth in sports

Go deeper

Education Department extends Title IX protections to transgender students

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Education on Wednesday announced that protections outlined under Title IX extend to gay and transgender students, a departure from the Trump administration's interpretation of the federal civil rights law.

Why it matters: The decision comes in light of the Supreme Court's ruling last year affirming that gay and transgender people are protected under the Civil Rights Act. It comes during a Biden administration review of Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits sex-based discrimination at schools that receive federal funding.

Jun 17, 2021 - World

Case of murdered Honduran trans woman could set legal precedent in region

A family photo of Vicky Hernández, courtesy of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and Cattrachas. Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

An international court is examining whether the Honduran government was complicit in the killing of Vicky Hernández, a 26-year-old trans woman fatally shot on the night of the country's 2009 coup d'état.

Why it matters: Legal advocates say the case could set a legal precedent across Latin America, which has the world's highest concentration of trans murders, according to activists.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 mins ago - Economy & Business

Get ready for more debt ceiling drama

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It was bliss while it lasted — which was exactly two years. Right now, the U.S. has no limit on the amount of debt it can issue. But that ends on Saturday.

Why it matters: Brace yourself for another round of unedifying posturing and brinkmanship, all of which should result — after a period of entirely unnecessary fiscal contortion — in the debt ceiling being raised (not abolished) sometime this fall.