The Yale Litigation

On October 8, 2020, the United States filed a complaint against Yale University in the District Court for the District of Connecticut, alleging that Yale was discriminating on the basis of race in undergraduate admissions program.  The complaint closely tracked the private cause of action filed against Harvard College by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), claiming that Yale was discriminating against white and Asian American applicants.

SFFA tried to intervene, but on January 19, 2021, the District Court denied its motion, stating that the United States was capable of representing SFFA’s interests and that intervention would complicate pre-trial discovery and related issues. SFFA rejected the option of submitting an amici curiae brief, which the District Court acknowledged, noting that by denying the motion to intervene SFFA’s other option would be to file a separate case, if SFFA was determined to participate in discovery, get relief, and raise claims.

In the wake of the 2020 election and change in administrations the United States submitted a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal, and on February 2, 2021, the District Court dismissed the case without prejudice.

On February 25, 2021, SFFA brought its own action against Yale, a virtual mirror image of its case against Harvard and the one brought against Yale by the United States. The case was assigned to Judge Kari A. Dooley.

On May 7, 2021, Yale entered a motion for stay pending resolution of the Supreme Court’s petition for a writ of certiorari in the Harvard case. The motion was granted on May 13, 2021, with the District Court ruling that if the Supreme Court denied the petition, then the stay would be lifted and Yale would have to file a response to SFFA’s complaint. But if the Supreme Court granted review of the Harvard case, then the Yale case would remain stayed until the Supreme Court issues its decision in the Harvard case, after which Yale would have to file a response to SFFA’s complaint.