On October 4, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a Memorandum withdrawing the 2014 Memorandum of former Attorney General Eric Holder concerning whether Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination included a prohibition on discrimination because of a person’s transgender status. Attorney General Holder concluded it did. Attorney General Sessions concludes it does not. Interestingly, it is a reminder of the purpose of the three branches of government. Congress as the legislative branch drafts our laws. The Attorney General as part of the executive branch is responsible for enforcing those laws. The judicial branch is responsible for interpreting our laws.
Remembering the purpose of each branch is important. At any time, Congress can clarify whether Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of a person’s gender identity, transgender status, sexual orientation, etc. Until it does so, members of the executive branch, like the Attorney General, will make decisions as to whether to pursue cases based upon that branch’s interpretation of the law. But, ultimately, the law’s actual interpretation falls to the judicial branch. Continue reading