Sen. Ted Cruz is threatening some serious legal action against Yale Law School after he says it began discriminating against students with “traditional Christian views.”
According to Campus Reform, Cruz’s targeting of Yale follows an incident where a lawyer from a conservative law group was invited to speak at the school about the Colorado Christian baker who declined to bake a cake for a gay marriage celebration.
In an article published by The Federalist on March 4, Aaron Haviland, a Yale Law student and member of the school’s Federalist Society, recalled how he “sent out a school-wide email announcement about a guest speaker event for the upcoming week. A lawyer from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Christian legal group that has won numerous First Amendment cases at the Supreme Court, would be discussing Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.”
“Given that ADF has been smeared as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, we expected some controversy. But what we got was over-the-top even by Yale standards,” Haviland wrote.
“The first condemnation was from Outlaws, the law school’s LGBTQ group. They attacked the Federalist Society for inviting ADF to campus and called for a boycott of the event. Over the next 24 hours, almost every student group jumped onto the bandwagon and joined the boycott.”
The Outlaws sent out a school-wide email about the invitation asking if students who belonged to the conservative student group would be allowed to participate in other school programs, such as fellowships that pay Yale Law students who spend their summers working for non-profits like the ADF — or even if conservative students should be admitted.
In the letter, obtained by The Daily Wire, the Outlaws said they were “asking the Yale Law School administration to clarify its (Summer Public Interest Fellowship) and admissions policies regarding organizations that discriminate against members of its community. Will students be able to receive SPIF funding to push discriminatory agendas during their summers? Will students be admitted to this community who, for example, have worked to sue cities and states for passing anti-discrimination laws and ordinances?”
A day later, according to The Daily Wire, another Outlaw email said, “Let’s call a spade a spade: ADF is a hate group that does not belong on our campus and does not deserve legitimization.”
Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken basically gave liberal students everything they wanted.
“We write to announce that the Law School’s nondiscrimination policy will extend to the Summer Public Interest Fellowship (SPIF), Career Options Assistance Program (COAP), and our post-graduate public interest fellowships. … Nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression is a key component of the Law School’s nondiscrimination policy,” she wrote in an email.
“We are grateful to members of the LGBTQ for their leadership, their friendship, and their intellectual engagement. And we reaffirm our commitment that these students, faculty, and staff should not experience discrimination inside or outside this Law School.
“We appreciate the leadership of Outlaws for raising the issue of the applicability of our nondiscrimination policy to student employment opportunities funded by the Law School.”
Ah, the irony of that last sentence. It wasn’t lost on Senator Cruz, either.
“As one of the nation’s most respected law schools, Yale Law School has an obligation to protect intellectual diversity and to respect the constitutional rights of its students,” he wrote to Gerken in a letter sent last week.
“However, 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.”
The Texas Republican (and Harvard Law graduate) went on to note that “(t)he 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.”
Cruz wrote that he is opening an investigation into the matter, warning that “the investigation may include a subpoena… or a referral to the Department of Justice for action against the school.”
He also said the letter should serve as “notice of (Yale’s) obligation to take reasonable steps to retain all … information relevant to this investigation and potential litigation.”
“In the meantime, if Yale Law School decides to alter its position and cease discriminating against religious students and organizations, please let me know,” Cruz said in closing.
“Yale’s policy transparently discriminates against Christian groups by prohibiting those groups from hiring individuals based on their adherence to a Christian mission,” Cruz’s office said in a statement to Campus Reform.
“Worse, Yale wants to treat traditional Christian beliefs on marriage, sex, and gender as bigotry. Such intense hostility to students of faith and Christian groups comes from an intense anti-religious animus, and Sen. Cruz intends to investigate this matter fully.”
Yale, meanwhile, didn’t respond, according to Campus Reform.
Whether or not the investigation ends in anything, the fact that the federal government is paying attention to this kind of discrimination could set an important precedent.
Merriam-Webster defines “persecute” as “to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict,” or “to cause to suffer because of belief.”
Yale’s policy falls under both definitions of persecution. Most importantly, it falls afoul of the First Amendment.
It cannot be allowed to let stand, lest it become much, much worse.