Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has opened an investigation into the Law School’s decision to extend its nondiscrimination policy to summer and postgraduate public interest fellowships, according to an April 4 letter to Law School Dean Heather Gerken.
Cruz — in his capacity as chair of the Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee — plans to investigate an alleged “unconstitutional animus and specific discriminatory intent” to “blacklist” Christian organizations and “punish” students who want to work there, according to his letter. In an email to the student body on March 25 obtained by The Daily Wire, Dean Gerken said the Law School would reconsider funding students working for organizations that the school felt violated nondiscrimination rules in their hiring practices.
“Public news reports indicate that Yale Law School has recently adopted a transparently discriminatory policy: namely, that Yale will no longer provide any stipends or loan repayments for students serving in organizations professing traditional Christian views or adhering to traditional sexual ethics,” Cruz wrote.
In response to Cruz’s allegations, Yale Law School released a statement on nondiscrimination, citing the National Association for Law Placement’s policy and American Bar Association’s requirement that law schools impose sanctions on discriminatory groups. The rules state that schools should not give funds to students who are working for employers who discriminate in hiring practices based on gender or sexual orientation.
“We recently decided that the Law School will require that any employment position it financially supports be open to all of our students,” the Yale statement reads. “If an employer refuses to hire students because they are Christian, black, veterans, or gay, we will not fund that position.”
According to the letter, law schools throughout the country have nondiscrimination policies similar to Yale’s. The Law School also made it clear that this policy will “solely concern hiring practices” and will include “an accommodation for religious organizations and a ministerial exception.”
“This discriminatory policy indicates that Yale Law School would prefer to sabotage the prospects of their own students than see them advocate for mainstream Christian or conservative causes,” a Cruz spokesperson wrote in a statement to the News. “[Cruz] will possibly hold a hearing to determine whether their rights are being violated by Yale, an institution which receives federal funds and is clearly prohibited from this sort of discrimination.”
Earlier this month, a lawyer from one of the allegedly blacklisted organizations — Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative, Christian nonprofit legal group — was invited to speak by Yale Law School’s chapter of the Federalist Society, a student group committed to open and honest debate on important legal issues. According to Federalist society member Aaron Haviland LAW ’19, the Outlaws — Yale Law School’s LGBTQ group — called for a boycott of the event and a majority of student cultural and religious groups joined it in condemning the talk.
Haviland, who is a member of Yale’s chapter of the Federalist Society, said that there is a culture of “vitriol and cyberbullying” against conservative, Christian students, exemplified by this alleged policy of defunding their summer work.
On March 4, Haviland penned a reflective piece for the Federalist, a web magazine, called, “I thought I could be a Christian and Constitutionalist at Yale Law School. I was Wrong.” In the piece, Haviland said that this culture brought his peers to tears and that some did not feel safe on campus.
Because the lawyer was speaking about Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission — which supported the right of owners of public accommodations to refuse service — Haviland said that the Federalist Society “expected some controversy.”
Haviland said that some students felt those who supported ADF’s position should no longer be admitted to the law school. Some students publicized the list of Federal Society members and demanded a list of law students with connections to ADF, according to Haviland.
Alliance Defending Freedom has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which claims that ADF believes the homosexual agenda will destroy Christianity and society, among other things.
According to The Daily Wire, the Outlaws sent an email on Feb. 24, asking the administration to clarify its summer fellowship and admission policies “regarding organizations that discriminate against members of its community.”
The Outlaws said that the administration, by supporting students working for organizations that discriminate against minorities like them in hiring practices, would be violating its own nondiscrimination policy.
A few hours after Cruz sent his letter, Duncan Hosie LAW ’21, who is a member of the Outlaws, penned an op-ed for the New York Daily News, suggesting that Cruz’s own record on free speech is the “real threat to religious freedom.” In the piece, Hosie said that the Law School does not want to punish students but only refrain from subsidizing employment discrimination against its students.
“Ted Cruz is distorting Yale’s nondiscrimination policy to advance his political career and appease his far-right supporters,” Hosie said in an email to the News. “Instead of wading into Yale’s campus politics, I wish he would start standing up to Trump’s assault on our constitutional rights, including the religious rights of Muslim Americans.”
The Federalist Society was founded in 1982 at the Yale Law School.
Samuel Turner | email@example.com
Correction, April 5: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article incorrectly attributed a quote to an op-ed, when, in fact, it was given directly to the News in an email.
Update, April 5: This story was updated to include a comment from Cruz’s spokesperson that was provided to the News after the time of publication.