The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) withdrew its Trump-era lawsuit Wednesday against Yale University that alleged the Ivy League school was discriminating against white and Asian-American undergraduate applicants and violating federal civil-rights laws in the process.
The two-sentence notice filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut informed the court of the federal government’s “voluntary dismissal of this action.”
“The Justice Department has dismissed its lawsuit in light of all available facts, circumstances, and legal developments,” including a November federal appeals court ruling that Harvard University didn’t break federal civil-rights law, a spokeswoman said Wednesday, according to The Wall Street Journal.
After a two-year DOJ investigation, the lawsuit was filed in October and accused the prestigious university of violating civil rights laws for “at least 50 years” by using race-based, affirmative-action practices in its admission process that tipped the scale for Black and Hispanic applicants.
The DOJ’s investigation into Yale’s undergraduate admission policies that started in 2018, it should be noted, is still open. The department’s investigation was launched after a complaint was filed in 2016 by a number of Asian-American groups with the DOJ and Department of Education, notably spearheaded by the Asian American Coalition for Education.
Yale, which has defended its admission practices, was gladdened to hear the DOJ had withdrawn its lawsuit, spokeswoman Karen Peart said, per The Wall Street Journal.
“The Justice Department’s decision in August 2020 to issue the notice of violation unexpectedly and precipitously cut off an exchange of information that Yale looks forward to resuming,” Peart said. “Yale has steadfastly maintained that its process complies fully with Supreme Court precedent, and we are confident that the Justice Department will agree.”
While the U.S. Supreme Court has historically upheld race-based affirmative action, the three new conservative justices added to the court by former President Donald Trump has sowed worry that such admission practices are now in a precarious position.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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