Dear Dawg: We got a letter from the Lieutenant Governor telling us to disregard a letter we got from the Department of Education…

Dear Dawg: How much legal authority does a letter from the Lieutenant Governor carry? We got a letter from the Lite Gov telling us we should pay no attention to the letter we got earlier from the Department of Education. I think you know, Dawg, that this is all about transgender students and the bathroom. Now I personally have great respect for our Lieutenant Governor, but I’m just wondering if his letter carries any legal weight. I know that an opinion from the Attorney General carries some weight with the courts, but what about a letter from the Lieutenant Governor? BOARD MEMBERS ARE ASKING.

DEAR BOARD MEMBERS: The opinions of various legal authorities can be arranged in a sort of hierarchy. The hierarchy will differ depending on if you are talking about state or federal law. With regard to state law, the Texas Supreme Court is the highest authority. But since you asked about transgender students and the bathroom, we are going to focus on federal law. In that case, for Texas educators, we’d rank the hierarchy this way:

1. An opinion from the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court.
2. An opinion from a majority of the 5th Circuit, sitting “en banc.”
3. An opinion from a panel of the 5th Circuit.
4. An opinion from a Circuit Court outside of the 5th Circuit.
5. An opinion from a federal district court.
6. An opinion from the Texas Attorney General.
7. An opinion from your school district attorney.
8. An opinion from an attorney who happens to be your brother-in-law.
9. An opinion from an attorney you met in the doctor’s waiting room.
10. An opinion from your niece who just graduated from law school and is awaiting bar results.
11. An opinion from your second cousin twice removed who just finished his first year of law school.
12. An opinion from a former radio talk show host who never went to law school, never took the bar exam and is not licensed to practice law.