AG Lynn Fitch sues Biden administration for ‘threatening to withhold nutrition assistance for schools’

Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 4:38 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Attorney General Lynn Fitch, along with 21 other Attorneys General, filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Tuesday.

According to a press release, the lawsuit is challenging the Administration’s new guidance on sex discrimination for schools and programs that receive federal nutrition assistance.

“Children and families in need rely on these programs for sustenance,” Attorney General Fitch said. “This is not the place or time for President Biden to be playing politics and pushing an agenda far out-of-step with the American people.”

On May 5, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services issued guidance to Mississippi and other states applying the Administration’s novel reading of discrimination on the basis of sex discrimination into the Food and Nutrition Act.

“The Administration has sought to apply the Supreme Court’s holding in Bostock v. Clayton County very expansively to include discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity to a wide variety of government programs,” the press release said.

According to AG Fitch, the USDA guidance at issue in the case puts Mississippi’s Title IX and SNAP school lunch funding at risk.

In the lawsuit, the Attorneys General argue the USDA’s Guidance is unlawful because of the following:

  • It was issued without providing the States and other stakeholders the opportunity for input as required by the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).
  • The USDA premised its Guidance on an obvious misreading and misapplication of the Supreme Court’s holding in Bostock v. Clayton County.
  • The Guidance imposes new and unlawful regulatory measures on state agencies and operators receiving federal financial assistance from the USDA. This will inevitably result in regulatory chaos that threatens essential nutritional services to some of the most vulnerable citizens.

The National School Lunch Program services nearly 30 million school children each day, with many relying on it for breakfast, lunch, or both.

The release says approximately 100,000 public and non-profit private schools and residential childcare institutions receive federal funding to provide subsidized free or reduced-price meals for qualifying children.

The lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of Tennessee.

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