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Supreme Court Asked to Block Trial by University of Iowa College of Law
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Summary: The United States Supreme Court has been asked by the University of Iowa College of Law to block a new trial in a case involving an employee. 

The Supreme Court has been asked by the University of Iowa College of Law to block a second trial surrounding whether or not the school improperly passed over a conservative scholar for a faculty position, according to Omaha.com.

  
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The school issued its filing last week in a lawsuit that is more than five-years-old and has been monitored by many in the higher education sector.

The person in question is Teresa Wagner, who claims that she was discriminated against by liberal professors. Wagner’s attorney said that he will oppose the request by the school later in December.

To read more about the University of Iowa College of Law, click here.

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Wagner was granted a new trial by an appeals court, which led lawyers for the current and former deans of the law school to petition judges to overturn the ruling. In the petition, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office argued that the court should reinstate a verdict from 2012 that found the former dean of the law school did not discriminate against Wagner.

School officials are being defended by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.



Joe Brennan, a spokesman for the University, said Monday that retrying the case “would be a waste of judicial resources and entirely unfair to the school.”

Wagner is employed part-time at the law school’s writing center. She claims that liberal professors blocked her candidacy in 2008 for jobs that included teaching legal writing because she is a Republican who worked for anti-abortion groups in the past.

Wagner is looking to be placed into a job with the law school with damages and back pay.

To read more about the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, click here.

According to professors, Wagner was passed over for the job because she interviewed poorly, not because of her politics.

The lawsuit reached the trial stage two years ago, but a mistake by a judge has left it in shambles ever since.

A mistrial was declared by U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Shields and he dismissed the jurors after they said they were unable to reach a unanimous decision in the case. Just minutes after declaring a mistrial, Judge Shields came to the realization that he should have asked the members of the jury if they have reached a verdict on either of the two counts filed in the lawsuit.

The jury was called back into the courtroom and said they agreed on one of the counts, which was that then-Law School Dean Carolyn Jones did not violate the First Amendment rights of Wagner by backing the decision of the faculty not to hire her.

The jury said that they came to a split decision on the equal protection claim by Wagner, which Shields declared a mistrial on at the time. The count was dismissed at a later time and a judge said the case was complete.

To read more about Teresa Wagner, click here.

In July, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis ruled that Wagner was allowed to have a second trial because Shields made a mistake in issuing the ruling and calling the jury back into the courtroom.

Will Wagner win this lawsuit? Use our poll to share your thoughts.

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Image credit: uiowa.edu



 

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