Ted Cruz threatens Yale Law School with lawsuit over blacklisting of Christian groups

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the annual International Christian Concern Capitol Hill policy day in Washington, D.C., May 24, 2017. | (Photo: The Christian Post/Samuel Smith)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wants to know if Yale Law School is illegally discriminating against Christians.

Cruz has launched an investigation into Yale Law School’s recent decision to apply their non-discrimination policy to summer and postgraduate public interest fellowships, arguing that it unfairly discriminates against students who wish to serve in organizations professing traditional "Christian views” or “sexual ethics.”

“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 a letter to Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken last Thursday.

Cruz, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, argued that the policy appeared to be in violation of the First Amendment.

“The First Amendment protects both free speech and the Free Exercise of religion. Yale’s new policy does neither. Instead, it appears that the policy arose from unconstitutional animus and a specific discriminatory intent both to blacklist Christian organizations like the Alliance Defending Freedom and to punish Yale students whose values or religious faith lead them to work there,” he said.

“Please be advised that the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution is opening an investigation into Yale Law School’s policy, announced via email on or about March 25, 2019, extending its putative nondiscrimination policy to summer public interest fellowships, postgraduate public interest fellowships, and loan forgiveness for public interest careers. As that investigation may include a subpoena duces tecum or a referral to the Department of Justice for action against the law school, please further consider this as notice of your obligation to take reasonable steps to retain all hard copies and electronically stored information relevant to this investigation and potential litigation,” Cruz further warned.

A Yale News report said the law school’s policy change was triggered after the school’s chapter of the Federalist Society, a student group committed to open and honest debate on important legal issues, invited a lawyer from the conservative legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom to speak earlier this year. LGBTQ activists at Yale, known as the Outlaws, opposed the invitation and on Feb. 24 asked the administration to clarify its summer fellowship and admission policies “regarding organizations that discriminate against members of its community.”

The LGBTQ group argued that by supporting students working for organizations that supposedly discriminate against people like them in hiring practices, Yale would be violating its own nondiscrimination policy.

In a statement on Cruz’s threat, Yale Law School said National Association for Law Placement’s policy and the American Bar Association require that law schools impose sanctions on discriminatory groups.

“We recently decided that the Law School will require that any employment position it financially supports be open to all of our students,” the statement cited by Yale News said. “If an employer refuses to hire students because they are Christian, black, veterans, or gay, we will not fund that position.”

A Cruz spokesperson told Yale News that he will “possibly” hold a hearing on the issue to determine whether Yale should continue receiving federal funds.

“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,” the spokesperson said. “[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.”

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