The move is to keep extremist law firms from taking over the defense.
The DOJ told a Federal Court Tuesday that it will “vigorously” defend religious schools being sued by students for discriminating against them on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender expression.
This filing came as three of those religious schools filed a brief to intervene in Hunter v. Department of Education saying that the Biden Administration wouldn’t defend their rights citing President Biden’s promises to “have our backs”.
At first glance this is devastating.
The pro-LGBT Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP), which submitted the lawsuit in March on behalf of the dozens of current and former students, blasted the DOJ’s latest filing.
“We are disappointed that the Biden Administration has chosen to align itself with anti-LGBTQ extremist groups like Alliance Defending Freedom. The administration did not need to defend this unconstitutional religious exemption. My clients feel betrayed by an administration that promised to protect them,” Paul Southwick, REAP’s director, told The Hill.
The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU), which counts many of the schools named in the lawsuit as members, said in May that they could not trust the Biden administration to fully defend them and pushed to get involved in the case, The Washington Post noted.
However, the Justice Department — which is charged with upholding federal law — opposed such a move, saying in its filing Tuesday that it shares the same “ultimate objective” as the schools in the case “to uphold the Religious Exemption as it is currently applied.”