A federal judge has issued a ruling in a case involving Arizona’s recently passed Save Women’s Sports Act.
On Thursday, Judge Jennifer Zipps, in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, granted a preliminary injunction against SB 1165, which was signed by former Governor Doug Ducey on March 30, 2022. The law would prohibit biological males from competing in women’s and girls’ athletic events at state public schools, colleges, and universities. Judge Zipps’ order blocks the law from going into effect.
Arizona’s Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne, released a statement after the judge’s order, vowing to continue his fight to uphold the law. Horne said, “We will appeal this ruling. This will ultimately be decided by the United States Supreme Court, and they will rule in our favor. The Plaintiffs in this case claimed that this only involves pre-pubescent boys, but we presented peer-reviewed studies that show pre-pubescent boys have an advantage over girls in sports. The only expert presented by the Plaintiffs was a medical doctor who makes his money doing sex transition treatments on children and who has exactly zero peer-reviewed studies to support his opinion.”
One of the representatives of the plaintiffs, Justin R. Rassi from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, lauded the judge’s ruling, writing, “The Court’s well-reasoned decision exposes the lack of any legitimate justification for this discriminatory law, which inflicts severe and irreparable harm on transgender girls like Megan and Jane. We are very happy that, as a result of this ruling, Jane and Megan will be immediately able to resume playing sports with their friends.”
Judge Zipps found that “the Arizona legislature intentionally created a classification, specifically ‘biological girls,’ that necessarily excludes transgender girls, and expressly allowed only that exclusive classification to play girls sports to the exclusion of transgender girls.” The judge wrote, “Enforcement of the Act in violation of the Equal Protection Clause in and of itself is sufficient to presume irreparable harm to justify a preliminary injunction.”
While Superintendent Horne has taken the primary lead in defending this law, he hasn’t been the only public official to take action in this case. Earlier this year, both Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen and House Speaker Ben Toma filed a Motion to Intervene in the matter. The Senate Republican’s press release highlighted that “on April 17, 2023, plaintiffs represented by a radical organization filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the law from being enforced in Arizona,” and “Attorney General Kris Mayes is not defending the constitutionality of the law.”
At the time of their filing, Petersen said, “In the absence of the Attorney General defending Arizona’s law, we’re looking forward to fighting for the rights of female athletes across Arizona, as well as for the Court making it clear Arizona’s law protecting women and girls should be enforced.”
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.
The same day the Washington, D.C. mayor pleaded for National Guard troops to handle the “crisis” her city is experiencing from undocumented migrants, a fatal vehicle accident near Interstate 10 in Benson shut down one of southeast Arizona’s key roadways for several hours due to yet another human smuggling effort.
Mayor Muriel Bowser was upbraided July 28 by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey after she complained about 4,000 or so migrants in the nation’s capital. Ducey pointed out Arizona dealt with more than 10 times that number in June alone, not counting thousands more illegal border crossers who were not apprehended due to a lack of federal resources.
Then just hours after Ducey’s comments, law enforcement agencies and emergency medical responders were on scene of a deadly two-vehicle accident one block south of the I-10 interchange with State Route 90, the key route to Sierra Vista and the border.
According to the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, deputies attempted a traffic stop of a white Ford Expedition on Davis Road near Tombstone around 1:15 p.m. The driver of the Ford failed to yield and began travelling at speeds over 100 miles per hour, forcing the deputy to end the effort due to safety concerns.
An “attempt to locate” the vehicle was put out by the deputy to surrounding law enforcement agencies. A sighting was made shortly after 3 p.m. when the vehicle was spotted several miles to the west, heading north on SR90 toward I-10.
The Ford was still traveling at speeds estimated over 100 miles per hour, prompting law enforcement personnel to deploy tire deflation devices a few blocks south of the Interstate. Unfortunately, the driver of the Ford -later identified as a Tucson woman in her 20’s- failed once again to stop, eventually crashing into a white SUV at a controlled intersection.
The Ford driver was removed from the vehicle with serious injuries and airlifted to a Tucson hospital where she remains in critical condition. A male passenger trapped in the Ford died at the scene, while two undocumented immigrants in the Ford were injured.
The SUV driver and a passenger also suffered injuries which required their transportation to a hospital for treatment. No medical update has been provided by Arizona Department of Public Safety as of press time.
Thursday’s fatal accident is just the latest serious crash the last 18 months involving drivers engaging in human smuggling. The additional responses are overtaxing the resources of law enforcement, first responders, and medical facilities.
Which makes last week’s comment by another Washington, D.C. official that their city’s situation is “unsustainable” particularly upsetting to those living along and protecting the southwest border.
Like Ducey, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office also hit back at Bowser last Thursday, noting that Washington, D.C. finally sees what states like Arizona and Texas “have been dealing with every single day, as our communities are overrun and overwhelmed by thousands of illegal immigrants” since President Joe Biden’s open border policies began in January 2021.
“If the mayor wants a solution to this crisis, she should call on President Biden to take immediate action to secure the border — something he has failed to do,” Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze added.
Bowser’s request for National Guard deployment in Washington, D.C. requires Presidential approval. The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III received the mayor’s request and is taking it “very seriously.”
The fatal accident in Benson and the call for National Guard troops in the capital also came the day U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced he was authorizing funding to complete a critical section of the border wall at the Morelos Dam in Yuma.
No date was provided for undertaking the construction which will close four gaps in an area along the swift moving Colorado River. However, Mayorkas’ statement implies it won’t be any time soon.
“Prior to construction, DHS will engage in standard environmental planning and conduct stakeholder outreach and consultation,” the announcement states. “DHS will move as expeditiously as possible, while still maintaining environmental stewardship.”
Governor Doug Ducey told Democratic mayors of the nation’s capital and most populous city, respectively, that they shouldn’t complain to him about asylum seekers, but should petition their party since it bears ultimate responsibility. Since April, Texas and Arizona have sent over 4,000 migrants to D.C.
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser complained to CBS News that Ducey and Texas Governor Greg Abbott were “tricking” illegal immigrants seeking asylum into boarding buses headed for her city. Bowser said that these buses were overwhelming D.C.’s homeless shelters.
“I fear that they’re being tricked into nationwide bus trips when their final destinations are places all over the United States of America,” said Bowser.
The D.C.-based news outlet, WUSA9, reported that several asylum seekers were told by Texas and Arizona officials that they would be given further transportation to their final destinations after traveling to D.C. These accounts would corroborate Bowser’s claim.
However, Ducey asserted that Arizona only provided asylum seekers with voluntary transportation to Washington, D.C. Additionally, the governor insisted that the mayor was getting a taste of her party’s own policies.
“Welcome to our world, @MayorBowser. Now work with your party, your Congress, and your President to do something about it,” stated Ducey.
Ducey added that the only “trick” played on asylum seekers is one played by the Biden administration.
Ducey later tweeted that Bowser’s accusations were offensive to the homeless shelters and nonprofits of Arizona and other border states because they’re also overwhelmed.
In a statement to WUSA9, Ducey’s communications director, C.J. Karamargin, said that they were unaware of anyone misleading the asylum seekers.
“If anyone is being misled, we certainly want to know about it,” stated Karamargin.
Abbott spokespersons also declared to WUSA9 that they didn’t mislead the asylum seekers.
Ducey also dismissed New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ claim that Arizona sent migrant families to New York City, saying that Arizona only sent them to D.C.
“President Biden created the crisis at the border — he’s failed to respond to calls for action and refuses to even visit the border, so we’re bringing the issue a little closer to home for him,” tweeted Ducey. “The President’s policies have placed overwhelming burdens on Arizona communities. It’s convenient that these liberal mayors are finally speaking up on this humanitarian crisis once it affects their communities, even though our program does not charter to New York City.”
An expansion of Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program has long been a cornerstone platform issue for Conservative lawmakers. And on Saturday, Gov. Doug Ducey made comments which have supporters believing he will sign into law what he called “the most expansive school choice legislation in the nation.”
House Bill 2853 creates a roughly $7,000 education credit for each of the 1.1 million K-12 student in Arizona to attend any school of their choice, whether it be a public, private or charter school, or even homeschooling. Ducey has called passage of the bill sponsored by House Majority Leader Ben Toma (R-Peoria) a “monumental moment for Arizona’s kids and families.”
That sentiment was shared by the Goldwater Institute, which noted Arizona’s new universal ESA expansion provides school choice for all students and “empowers families to choose the best schooling option for their children regardless of their zip code.”
HB2853 will take effect on behalf of the state’s more than 1.1 million students a mere 90 days after signed by the governor. The credit, which is paid out as scholarships, can be used for expenses such as tuition and tutoring, transportation, education tools (i.e. textbooks and computers), and other costs directly related to supporting a student’s educational needs.
Among those across the country recognizing the legislative victory in Arizona is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a longtime advocate of ESA programs.
In addition, Corey A. DeAngelis of the Washington DC-based American Federation for Children tweeted about the bill which now allows all Arizona families to direct their student’s ESA dollars to the educational institution that can best serve the student.
However, organizations such as Save Our Schools have threatened to push back on the new legislation if Ducey signs it. The group advocates for funding the needs of public school systems instead of the needs of individual students, even when a family has determined a private, charter, or home school situation is better for the student than a public school setting.
EDITOR NOTE: The original article has been updated to reflect that Gov. Ducey has not yet signed HB2853 despite his public comments in support of the legislation.
On Wednesday, the Arizona Senate passed HB2008, which reforms the state’s high school learning standards to cast a positive light on America’s founding principles while exploring the dangers of other governing ideologies. The bill now heads to the House for review before submission to Governor Doug Ducey for final approval.
Under the bill, the State Board of Education (SBE) must update high school social studies standards to incorporate a comparative discussion of political ideologies. Communism and totalitarianism will be juxtaposed with American ideology, such as its founding principles of freedom and democracy.
“The academic standards prescribed by the state board in social studies shall include personal finance, American civics education, and a comparative discussion of political ideologies, such as communism and totalitarianism, that conflict with the principles of freedom and democracy that are essential to the founding principles of the United States,” states the bill. (emphasis added to reflect the new legislative language)
Specifically, HB2008 requires the learning standards to rely on source texts, oral histories from victims of ideologies like communism and totalitarianism. The SBE would develop resources from the Arizona State University (ASU) School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, the University of Arizona (UArizona) Center for Philosophy of Freedom, and the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute for American Democracy.
The SBE would have until this New Year’s Eve to establish a list of “portraits in patriotism” oral history resources supplementing the civic education and social studies standards.
The bill almost didn’t make it out of the Senate. It failed just the day before, on Tuesday, when Majority Leader Rick Gray (R-Sun City) joined Senate Democrats in opposing it since State Senators Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) and Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-Scottsdale) weren’t able to vote. However, all Republican senators offered unified support for the bill the next day.
HB2008 passed in the House along party lines, with unanimous opposition from Democrats and unanimous support from Republicans.
Democrats have pushed back against efforts to portray communism in a negative light. Some, like State Representative and congressional candidate Daniel Hernandez (D-Tucson), have argued that ideologies like white nationalism pose a bigger threat than communism.
HB2008’s sponsor, State Representative Quang Nguyen (R-Prescott Valley), was a victim of communism himself. At 12 years old, Nguyen fled from the Communist Party of Vietnam a week before the Fall of Saigon in April 1975.
HB2008 was Nguyen making good on his promise late last year to ensure students learn about the evils of what he and others, such as House Majority Leader Ben Toma (R-Peoria), had suffered. Toma was nine years old when he emigrated from Romania in the 1980s, ruled at the time by communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu.