Reed Charles O'Connor (born June 1, 1965) in Houston, Texas is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. He was nominated by George W. Bush in 2007 and is described as conservative.
Early life and career
Born in Houston, Texas to George John O'Connor and Eileen Star Boyle, O'Connor received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Houston in 1986 and a Juris Doctor from South Texas College of Law in 1989. He was in private practice in Texas from 1989 to 1994 and an assistant district attorney with the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office in Fort Worth, Texas from 1994 to 1998. O'Connor then served as Assistant United States Attorney of the Northern District of Texas from 1998 to 2007. From 2003 to 2007, he worked on the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
Federal judicial career
On June 27, 2007, O'Connor was nominated by President George W. Bush to a seat on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas vacated by A. Joe Fish. The United States Senate confirmed O'Connor's appointment on November 16, 2007, and he received his commission on November 21, 2007.
On August 21, 2016, O'Connor issued a ruling against the Obama administration dealing with the government's interpretation of Title IX rules. The guidance from the White House was issued in May 2016, and addresses the Title IX requirement that schools receiving federal funding not discriminate against students on the basis of sex. The ruling required that transgender students be allowed to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. O'Connor ruled that the new guidelines did not receive proper notice and comment prior to publication, and that Title IX and its implementing regulation are "not ambiguous" as to the "plain meaning of the term sex as used". He then issued a nationwide injunction preventing them from being enforced with respect to students' access to "intimate facilities."
On December 31, 2016, in a separate case, O'Connor issued a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the Obama administration’s regulations implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded health programs) as a likely violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and what he said was an improper inclusion of gender identity discrimination.
On October 5, 2018, O'Connor ruled that the Indian Child Welfare Act was unconstitutional.
On December 14, 2018, O'Connor ruled that the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional. O'Connor ruled that the individual mandate was unconstitutional by saying "[the] Individual Mandate can no longer be fairly read as an exercise of Congress's Tax Power and is still impermissible under the Interstate Commerce Clause—meaning the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional." This is in reference to National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012) which ruled that the individual mandate was constitutional because of the tax penalty. The penalty was removed by Congress in 2017. The ruling was deemed likely to be appealed. According to Nicholas Bagley, law professor at the University of Michigan, the Affordable Care Act would likely remain in effect throughout the appeals process. President Donald Trump commended the ruling on Twitter.