Washington, D.C. — Late Wednesday, the Plaintiff in Women’s Student Union v. U.S. Department of Education — a lawsuit challenging harmful Trump-era Title IX regulations — urged a federal court to deny an attempt by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Independent Women’s Law Center, and Speech First, Inc. to intervene in the case.

The Women’s Student Union (WSU) at Berkeley High School in Berkeley, California, filed the lawsuit in March of this year to challenge some of the most damaging provisions of the Department of Education’s Title IX regulations, which were put into place by former Secretary Betsy DeVos. The regulations weaken sexual harassment protections and make it easier for schools to shirk their duty to protect students. Public Justice, Democracy Forward, and Correia & Puth represent WSU. The National Center for Youth Law also represented the group until earlier this month, when Democracy Forward joined the case.

The court is expected to hold a hearing on the case this January.

In response to the attempt to intervene in this case, Public Justice, Democracy Forward, and Correia & Puth issued the following joint statement:

“The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Independent Women’s Law Center, and Speech First, Inc. are seeking to intervene in this case in order to advance their extreme agenda in court—to urge the court to find that providing critical protections to students violates the First Amendment. But that issue is not relevant to the case at hand, nor does it have any sound legal basis. Ultimately, the motion to intervene is nothing more than an attempt to distract from the real issue: that Betsy DeVos unlawfully changed the Department of Education’s Title IX rules in ways that make schools more dangerous. We’re urging the court to deny the groups’ attempt to intervene and allow us to continue this fight to swiftly erase the worst parts of the regulations and restore critical protections for students across the U.S.” 


Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization founded in 2017 to litigate challenges to unlawful government action on behalf of organizations, individuals, and municipalities. The organization has taken 650 legal actions and reversed dozens of harmful policies. Democracy Forward is expanding its work, building on its success to confront unlawful threats to democracy and social progress.

Public Justice’s Students’ Civil Rights Project uses litigation and advocacy to combat harassment and other forms of discrimination so that all students can learn and thrive in school. Our unique strategy for effecting lasting, systemic change pairs innovative legal advocacy with outreach, education, and mobilization efforts that empower young people to be catalysts for critical reforms.

Correia & Puth is a recognized, national leader on use of Title IX as an effective tool to maintain an educational environment free from discrimination and retaliation.

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Democracy Forward
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Aidan O’Shea
Public Justice 
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