Update (March 8, 2019): Stop the presses! The U.S. Court of Appeals has knocked a Minnesota Litigator prediction out of the prediction loss column and into the prediction win column in the case discussed below.
Update (October 2, 2018): Our original post below is not exactly a prediction so it is not, exactly, a failed prediction but it is close enough for us to consider it one.
In this constitutional challenge, boys are trying to join their schools’ competitive dance program, arguing they are being denied based on their sex, and further arguing that such a denial violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law against sex discrimination in education. Sr. U.S. District Court Judge Paul A. Magnuson (D. Minn.) denied plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction this past week, however, ruling, in essence, that the plaintiffs are unlikely to win on any of their claims.
A girls-only dance team rule “is substantially related to an important governmental objective,” Judge Magnuson found (to “give girls more chances to participate [in sports], because their opportunities have previously been limited”). Therefore, the girls-only competitive dance squad does not deny the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause. Competitive dance is a sport, not an extracurricular activity and, as such, may be single-sex as an exception to Title IX’s general prohibition of discrimination based on sex. Therefore, no Title IX violation.
The plaintiffs will appeal and maybe they will have more luck before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Original post (July 30, 2018): We are generally suspicious, cynical, and ideologically opposed to cases brought by Erik Kaardal and the law firm of Mohrman & Kaardal (see, for example, this post) but their complaint (along with the Pacific Legal Foundation) last week on behalf of Minnesota male high school students who want to join the competitive dance team seems to us to have merit. Who disagrees?
The arena of gender norms and stereotypes is one of our cultural battlefields where we spill ink and bile and fight.
We live in a world where “welder” seems to many of us to suggest one gender and “flight attendant” another. Few of us, when forced to face the issue directly, however, find these stereotypes, this attitude of gender destiny, fair, useful, or defensible. Few of us (I hope) would crush their children’s dreams by discouraging them with “girls just don’t do that” or “that job or hobby is not for boys.” And why shouldn’t there be boys on high school competitive dance teams?