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April 12, 2019

Senator Ted Cruz


United States Senate
404 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4306

Dear Senator Cruz:

Yale University has received your letter to Dean Heather Gerken, dated April 4, 2019.
We appreciate your interest in our students and your commitment to religious freedom and the
principle of nondiscrimination. Yale Law School is likewise deeply committed to those same
principles. The Law School does not discriminate on the basis of religion, and in fact the policy
your letter inquires about protects our students from discrimination of all kinds, including
religious discrimination. As explained below, Yale Law School’s antidiscrimination policy
mirrors those of other law schools, complies with state law and the requirements of law school
accreditation and the legal profession, and is more protective of religious liberty than prevailing
policies at other law schools.

Although your letter does not state what federal laws you believe the Law School’s
policy violates, we are certain it fully complies with all applicable laws. The policy – which
forbids discrimination based on religion, veteran status, sex, race, sexual orientation, and gender
identity and expression – affords our students the same protections that the U.S. Department of
Justice extends to its own employees, as confirmed by Attorney General Barr last week. The
policy contains the same protections found in the policies of many universities, nonprofits, and
private companies, and in the laws of many states where our graduates practice. It closely tracks
Executive Order 13672, which forbids employment discrimination by federal agencies on the
basis of protected categories including sexual orientation and gender identity – a commitment
Attorney General Barr affirmed on April 4. It also is similar in structure to Executive Order
11246, which denies federal contracts to organizations that discriminate in employment on these
same grounds. Like federal policy, the Law School’s policy will afford accommodations in
hiring decisions for religious observances or practices, in accordance with law.
Senator Cruz
April 12, 2019
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Yale Law School’s policy also is consistent with standards of accreditation and of the
legal profession. The American Bar Association requires all law schools, as a condition of their
accreditation, to take affirmative steps to ensure that employers who recruit at those schools do
not discriminate against their students. The National Association for Law Placement makes clear
that lawyers and employers should not discriminate against students on the basis of sexual
orientation or gender as well as other protected characteristics. Consistent with these
requirements, law schools throughout the country permit employers to recruit on campus only if
they comply with nondiscrimination policies that are generally identical to Yale’s.

As you know, the Law School recently concluded that this nondiscrimination policy, long
applied to on-campus recruiting, should also apply to the other forms of career support services
the Law School provides to students and employers. The logic is straightforward: we will not
provide financial support for employment of our students by organizations that discriminate in
employment against our students. This extension of our policy is based on exactly the same
principles and the same protected classes that Yale and other law schools have long applied to
employment recruitment. If one believed this new application of our policy violates federal law,
as your letter suggests, then one would have to draw the same conclusion about the same
protections that are applied by other law schools, required by the ABA, and enforced by federal,
state and local government agencies around the country.

The Law School’s policy does not single out students or organizations based on their
religion. The policy is sharply focused on an organization’s employment policies; it does not
draw lines based on religion, ideology, litigation or advocacy strategy, or political goals. It
protects all our students, including Christian students, from discrimination. Even-handed
enforcement of this policy has produced a long track record of support by Yale for the
recruitment of our students by a wide variety of employers, including many religious
organizations, organizations of every political stripe, and a wide array of governmental
employers.

Given Yale Law School’s long and proud tradition of graduates pursuing careers with
religiously affiliated organizations, we fully intend for the policy to include both a ministerial
exception and an accommodation for religious organizations, similar to those found in federal
law. Yale’s loan-forgiveness program, unlike those of nearly all other law schools, extends to
non-lawyering jobs—including careers relating to religious life. Our policy will have an explicit
ministerial exception, to make completely clear that the Law School will support a graduate who
chooses the life of a rabbi, priest or imam. Beyond that, the policy will also include an
accommodation for religion that balances the important principles of religious freedom and
nondiscrimination.

We announced our planned policy extension more than two weeks ago, and are now
working to develop its details. Dean Gerken has asked a religiously and ideologically diverse
group that includes deep expertise on issues of religious liberty and discrimination to propose
draft language to accommodate religious organizations and create a ministerial exception. Given
the importance of the issues, they will work in a careful, deliberative fashion and will seek input
from students, faculty, and graduates. There is no reason for the committee to rush its work, as
the policy will apply prospectively only; for example, it will apply to the loan-forgiveness
Senator Cruz
April 12, 2019
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program beginning with the Class of 2023. The Law School will work closely with the
University’s Office of General Counsel to remain in full compliance with all applicable laws.

Per your request, the University’s Office of General Counsel has provided a document
preservation notice to the custodians of the documents you have identified. Yale would be
pleased to continue the discussion we began with your office’s legal counsel to provide
information about our policy, discuss the legal basis for any federal oversight of Yale’s policy on
its use of institutional funds, and explore the resolution of any remaining concerns you may have
about the policy.

Sincerely,

Alexander E. Dreier

Cc: Judd Stone, Esq.


Dean Heather K. Gerken