Garland Sidesteps Question on Trans Participation in Women’s Sports

Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland testifies during his confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., February 22, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Reuters)

President Biden’s nominee for attorney general Merrick Garland declined to say whether transgender females should be allowed to participate in women’s sports programs, during a Senate hearing on Garland’s nomination on Monday.

Biden has signed an executive order calling on schools to allow transgender athletes to compete in sports competitions that match their gender identity. Various state legislatures and some parents of female athletes have protested that doing so would unfairly allow biological males to compete against women.

Senator John Kennedy (R., La.) asked Garland whether he would agree that “allowing biological males to compete in an all-female sport deprives women of the opportunity to participate fully and fairly in sports.”

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“This is a very difficult societal question you’re asking here,” Garland responded.

“I know, but you’re going to be attorney general,” Kennedy said. Garland objected that he “may not be the one who has to make policy decisions” regarding the issue.

“I think every human being should be treated with dignity and respect,” Garland added. “The particular question of how Title IX applies in schools…is something that I would have to look at when I have the chance to do that. I’ve not had the chance to consider these kinds of issues in my career so far.”

Earlier this month, Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) questioned Biden’s nominee for education secretary Miguel Cardona on the same issue. Cardona said it was “critically important” to “respect the rights of all students, including students who are transgender.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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