Law professors have different views on HB2 lawsuits

Greg Wallace of Campbell Law and Irving Joyner of N.C. Central Law (WNCN)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – With several lawsuits now pending, lawyers agree it could be months or maybe even longer before the battle over House Bill 2 plays out in court.

Two law professors in the Triangle have different takes on the federal lawsuits filed on House Bill 2. The U.S. Department of Justice said North Carolina is discriminating against the transgender community and is violating the Civil Rights Act.

Gov. Pat McCrory and state lawmakers disagree, and want the federal courts to verify their position.

“All of these lawsuits turn upon the same thing — what does sex discrimination in Title VII and Title IX mean?” said Greg Wallace, a law school professor at Campbell University.

Wallace said the state of North Carolina has a chance to prevail.

“There is good legal grounds for saying that the Department of Justice and the Department of Education are simply wrong,” Wallace said.

He said the Department of Justice’s position is “based on pretty thin legal theory.”

But Irving Joyner, a law professor at N.C. Central University, disagreed.

“What actually constitutes gender? Right now, the weight of authority seems to be with the federal government,” Joyner said.

Joyner said the state is “pushing for the enforcement of that statute and that creates the violation of what Title IX would stand for based on how it has been interpreted.”

Wallace and Joyner also disagreed on whether the battle over House Bill 2 echoes the Civil Rights movement. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, in announcing the federal lawsuit Monday, drew that comparison.

“This is consistent with civil rights,” said Joyner. “I mean, Title IX is a civil rights statute.”

Wallace did not agree.

“Race discrimination is a unique evil in American society and in our legal system,” Wallace said. “We’ve had a Civil War and three Constitutional amendments that provide a compelling justification for eliminating race discrimination in public accommodations. We’ve not had that same history with transgender discrimination.”

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