Drew S. Days III, the Alfred M. Rankin Professor of Law at Yale Law School, died on November 15. He was 79 years old.
Professor Days was a native of Atlanta. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. He went on to obtain a law degree at Yale University in 1966.
Following law school, Days worked briefly for a law firm in Chicago before entering the Peace Corps, where he volunteered in Comayagua, Honduras, from 1967 to 1969. Days then joined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in New York City as its first assistant counsel. In that role, he litigated cases in the areas of school desegregation, police misconduct, employment discrimination, and prisoners’ rights.
In 1977, President Jimmy Carter nominated Days to be the first African American assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. In 1978, he led the successful effort to uphold affirmative action admissions programs in the landmark case Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.
Days joined the Yale Law faculty in 1981. From 1993 to 1996, he served as the Solicitor General of the United States in the Clinton administration.