The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Jurors Agree: University of Iowa Law School Discriminated Against Faculty Applicant Due to Her Conservative Views

Following up on my previous posts (links below) about Teresa Wagner's federal lawsuit:  Des Monies Register, Jurors Say They Saw Hiring Bias at University of Iowa; But University, Not Former Law Dean, Wronged Conservative Job Applicant:

A federal jury believed the University of Iowa’s law school illegally denied a promotion to a conservative Republican because of her politics, former jurors told The Des Moines Register.

However, jurors said they felt conflicted about holding a former dean personally responsible for the bias. They wanted to hold the school itself accountable, but federal law does not recognize political discrimination by institutions. “I will say that everyone in that jury room believed that she had been discriminated against,” said Davenport resident Carol Tracy, the jury forewoman.

Meanwhile, attorneys for Teresa Wagner on Tuesday filed a motion for a new trial in the case that scholars agree could have national implications in what some argue is the liberally slanted world of academia.


Discrimination against conservatives at a law school is not even a Dog Bites Man story. It's more like a Dog Seen Sleeping story. But I guess it is unusual for a jury to brought in to judge the activity tortious. I hope Ms. Wagner ultimately gets some sort of satisfaction though that seems still much in the future. I suppose a suit like this might encourage law professors to keep this sort of discrimination in a more deniable form. It seems far too much to hope that this suit and even a few more like it would actually result in less discrimination against conservatives. But I could be wrong and hope I am. --TS

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