A Georgia lawmaker is suing the federal government on behalf of taxpayers for what he calls "illegal and unconstitutional directives" from the Education Department.
Republican State Rep. Earl Ehrhart, who chairs the influential Georgia House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education, filed the lawsuit along with his wife, alleging the federal government violated the Administrative Procedure Act when they issued a "guidance document" that included onerous new regulations for schools to follow. If schools fail to abide by the Department's Office for Civil Rights' ever-changing guidance, they risk losing federal funding.
Ehrhart has been a vocal critic of the Department's "Dear Colleague" letters, which began forcing colleges to spend more and more money to adjudicate felonies in 2011. In January, Ehrhart told school administrators: "If you don't protect the students of this state with due process, don't come looking for money." It was the strongest statement yet on the issue from a legislator.
In his lawsuit, Ehrhart claims the 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter imposed "unnecessary costs and expenses that flow directly to both Federal and Georgia Taxpayers, including Plaintiffs, under the threat of Federal funding being revoked for the schools' failure to comply."
"The illegal and unconstitutional directives issued in the Obama Administration's 'Dear Colleague' letter have resulted in a clear disregard for the due process rights of male college students and fostered an environment of male gender bias on campuses throughout the country," Ehrhart said in a press release. "As Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education, I have seen firsthand how colleges and universities, intimidated by [the Education Department's Office for Civil Right's] threat to their federal funding, have set up kangaroo court systems to comply with the Obama Administration's unconstitutional policies."
He added: "It is unacceptable that state and federal taxpayers in this country continue to fund these mandates and their attendant costs at higher education institutions."
The 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter demanded that schools adopt processes that make it easier to find accused students culpable without affording them much chance to defend themselves. Schools aren't required to allow them legal representation and lack subpoena power to obtain relevant evidence; and it's up to the schools what evidence is "relevant" or "exculpatory," meaning oftentimes accused students aren't made aware of evidence that could exonerate them.
It's all due to the Obama administration's agenda on looking tough when it comes to sexual assault. The belief that women are oppressed and victimized at large numbers in this country permeates the administration, and it has introduced policies that take self-reported, manipulated surveys as fact and eviscerates due process rights in pursuit of ending a non-existent "epidemic."
Ehrhart and his wife claim they have standing to sue as taxpayers of the state, who help fund the colleges and universities. The Ehrharts are also deeply concerned about the policies forced upon colleges because they have a son enrolled in the Georgia Institute of Technology, a school that has a horrendous track record on sexual misconduct accusations.
Ehrhart is represented by Andrew Miltenberg, Jeffrey Berkowitz and Tara Davis of Nesenoff Miltenberg Goddard Laskowitz, LLP and Jonathan Hawkins of Krevolin & Horst, LLC. Miltenberg is also representing a former Colorado State University-Pueblo student who was suspended for multiple years (essentially expelled) for sexual misconduct even though his alleged victim said she wasn't raped. The student in that case is also suing the Education Department.
"It is our hope that his case, together with the Grant Neal case (commenced earlier this week), have cornered the OCR, highlighting its abuses and providing a compelling narrative as we try to dismantle the OCR's continued assault on the rights of young men," Miltenberg told the Washington Examiner in an email.
Ehrhart told the Examiner that if he got the "right panel" on the Georgia court where his lawsuit was filed, "we could be in very good shape." And if they lose, he said, "we'll appeal. We'll take this right up to the Supreme Court."
This is a man. Earl Ehrhart is perhaps one of the last of the men left in government. A brave man that is taking on the feminist juggernaut. Fine,we will stand beside him and let him know that there are men standing beside him. That we at the Men's Rights Blog stand with him and wish him the best as he rights this wrong and restores and gets justice for the wrongfully accused men whom this suggestion "dear colleague" has destroyed. In fact let's tell him ourselves: firstname.lastname@example.org The more of us he hears from the better so let's let him know we appreciate what he is doing. After all he is doing this on our behalf as well so let's let him know today.
There is a second take on this story:
Georgia lawmaker sues Department of Ed officials for exceeding authority in campus rape rules
Greg Piper - Associate Editor •April 22, 2016
Our son could be ‘wrongly accused and found responsible’
The Department of Education and its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) have harmed not only students but their parents and taxpayers by enforcing unlawful rules in campus sexual-misconduct investigations, according to a lawsuit by a Georgia lawmaker.
State Rep. Earl Ehrhart chairs the Georgia House subcommittee that controls the purse for the state’s public colleges and universities, and he has used his position to pressure schools to restore due-process rights, with some success.
But in the suit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, Ehrhart and his wife Victoria spoke as parents of a son enrolled at Georgia Tech.
They have “heard countless stories of young men being accused, investigated, and subsequently expelled from Georgia colleges and universities without being provided appropriate due process protections,” owing to OCR’s 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter to colleges, the suit says.
They are “concerned that in the current regulatory climate” their son could, “like any other male college student, be wrongly accused and found responsible under the directives imposed by the Dear Colleague Letter.”
‘Imperative language’ means it is intended to be enforced
The Ehrharts’ lawsuit names Education Secretary John King and OCR chief Catherine Lhamon as defendants, as well as the agencies they lead and the United States government itself.
It was filed by the same lawyer, Andrew Miltenberg, who earlier this week sued Colorado State University-Pueblo on behalf of a male student who was functionally expelled for a sexual encounter that his partner has repeatedly said was not rape. That suit also named Department of Ed officials.
The core of the suit is that OCR did not follow the proper regulatory procedure in issuing substantive new rules, including the use of an “excessively low” evidence standard and the discouragement of cross-examination, while threatening the federal funding of schools that didn’t comply.
The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) requires a notice-and-comment rulemaking for any substantive rules, which are often marked by “imperative language” such as “must,” the suit says. It points to the repeated use of “should,” “must,” “requires” and “strongly” throughout the letter.
When OCR’s Lhamon was challenged on the letter’s legality by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla. and chair of the Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee, she claimed the Dear Colleague was “interpretive” because the Title IX statute went through notice-and-comment 44 years ago, the suit says.
All decisions from the past five years are ‘arbitrary and void’
The Ehrharts are calling for “all disciplinary decisions arising” from the Dear Colleague letter – five years of misconduct findings from proceedings that were tailored to OCR’s demands – to be rendered “unconstitutional, arbitrary and void.”
The 2011 letter “was not, in practice or effect, a genuine guidance document” that carries no force of law, because it “coerced the schools’ compliance” with rules that were not implemented in the last rulemaking in 2001.
Because it set up “quasi-legal” proceedings that “violate many civil liberties,” the Dear Colleague has become “a highly divisive document, criticized by law professors, lawyers, educators, journalists, civil liberties groups and members of Congress,” the suit says.
The Ehrharts argued that the Department of Ed and OCR couldn’t avoid judicial review, as provided by the APA, by simply calling the Dear Colleague a guidance document.
The letter “is a final agency action in that it is the consummation of the agency’s decision-making and has been carried out as binding law since its adoption in 2011,” with “direct legal consequences” for institutions that do not comply.
The suit notes that Lhamon has repeatedly said in public settings that she expects colleges to follow the 2011 letter and “I will enforce” it – a threat made good when Tufts University “balked” at agreeing to an OCR finding that its policies suddenly violated Title IX in 2014.
Georgia taxpayers and academic programs are threatened
Those threats have forced all Georgia public colleges to create Title IX enforcement offices and hire personnel, costing them millions of dollars, to avoid the risk that their federal funding could be cut – with taxpayers hit and academic programs slashed as a result, the suit says.
It contrasts the multi-billion dollar endowments of Ivy League schools that have each hired dozens of Title IX staff in response to the Dear Colleague, with the endowments of Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, which are “a shadow of their Ivy League peers.”
The suit notes Ehrhart’s own subcommittee hearings into how state schools handle sexual-misconduct investigations and says money can’t make students safer: The feds are demanding that colleges “micromanage the sex lives of students.”
The closest the suit gets to arguing that male students face inherent bias in post-Dear Colleague investigations – the core claim in lawyer Miltenberg’s CSU-Pueblo lawsuit – is its reference to the “rapid increase” in suits filed by students who were “wrongly disciplined.”
“Typically, these cases are brought by male students erroneously found responsible for sexual misconduct after being subjected to an arbitrary, biased and Kafkaesque investigation and adjudication,” it says.
Washington University Law Prof. John Banzhaf, who has called the 2011 Dear Colleague “unconstitutional,” said other states or municipalities could also challenge OCR in court by approving rules that contradict OCR’s, such as the right to cross-examination.
“Here it is not even clear that the [Title IX] statute authorized the Department of Education to have any involvement in the issue of rape complaints involving college students,” Banzhaf wrote in an email blast Thursday, “much less that it clearly intended to preempt any statutes individual states or municipalities might adopt. ”
You know where this bitch came up with "dear colleague"? If it wasn't handed down to her then she reached as far up her ass as she could and pulled it out. It's not a law. It has no enforcement value yet she is acting like a smug little bitch about it. Let's see how smug she is with a congressional investigation looking up her ass. We'll see how smug she is then. Let's contact our Congressional representative and our Senators,especially Senator Lamar Alexander and Senator James Lankford. Let's teach this little bitch she can't just fuck with innocent men just because she feels like it.