DOJ draws non-liberal judge in suit against Yale

I wrote here about the Department of Justice’s suit against Yale University for race discrimination in undergraduate admissions. The action was filed in federal district court in Connecticut.

The DOJ has strong evidence of unlawful discrimination. As importantly, the case falls within the jurisdiction of a reasonably hospitable court of appeals (the Second Circuit), with the prospect of ultimately being decided by a Supreme Court that (assuming it isn’t packed) won’t be predisposed in favor of race-based admissions.

In addition, the district court case has been assigned to a non-liberal judge — Charles S. Haight, Jr. I was surprised by this news because I remember reading opinions by Judge Haight in the 1980s from the Southern District of New York. I wondered whether this is this the same judge.

It is. He was appointed by Gerald Ford to the SDNY. Since taking senior status, Judge Haight, now 90 years old, sits by designation in Connecticut.

Judge Haight is probably a good draw for the DOJ. According to this study he is slightly right of center.

The study is interesting. It assesses the ideological leanings of judges based on those of their law clerks, as measured by their contributions to political candidates.

This is probably a sound methodology when it comes to Supreme Court Justices and court of appeals judges. Certainly, the findings for these two groups of jurists seem consistent with what we know about them from their opinions.

I’m less confident in using law clerks as ideological surrogates for district court judges. However, I believe Judge Haight’s reputation is generally consistent with his score in the study.

There’s a wrinkle, though. Haight received his undergraduate and his law degree from Yale.

In the case of DOJ’s discrimination claims, Haight’s status as a Yale alum could cut either way or, most likely, no way at all. It’s worth noting, however.

In my mind, the big question is what will happen to the DOJ’s case if Joe Biden is elected president. I assume a Biden administration would dismiss the case. Biden and his party favor discriminating in favor of Blacks and Latinos and against Whites and Asians in college admissions (and much else).

However, if private plaintiffs intervene in the case, it can proceed even if the Justice Department bows out. Naturally, I’m hoping for one or more intervenors with standing to pursue the case as presented by the DOJ.

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