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At Iowa U, a Degree of Bias

By Tony Perkins

Teresa Wagner is a distinguished attorney, professor, and author. The mother of four, who in the 1990s served as a senior leader here at FRC, is also probably the first FRCer ever to obtain a favorable ruling in a case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. Sadly, her victory before the nation’s highest legal bench is not one she ever wanted to obtain.

It only came about because in 2009, Teresa was denied a position at the University of Iowa’s law school because she’s a self-identified conservative who believes in protecting the unborn and sustaining one-man, one-woman marriage. Again, this is not a matter of Teresa’s qualifications: She holds four degrees and has an exceptional background as a practicing attorney and published author.

And as legal analyst Paul Mirengoff has written, “Wagner was already the associate director of the law school’s writing center. Moreover, she had taught legal writing at George Mason University Law School, edited three books, practiced as a trial attorney in Iowa, and written several legal briefs, including one in a U.S. Supreme Court case. In addition, the faculty-appointments committee at the University of Iowa College of Law recommended her appointment as a full-time instructor.” Yet she was denied a position on the law faculty because, to the shock and ire of the school’s reigning liberal ideologues, they could not abide having someone of her convictions among them.

So, after more than two years of trials and high legal fees, the Supreme Court last week declined “to block a second trial over whether the University of Iowa law school improperly passed over a conservative scholar for a faculty position. The justices on Monday rejected Iowa officials’ plea to revisit a lower court ruling in favor of school employee Teresa Wagner.”

Yesterday, Teresa spoke here at FRC and detailed her long battle against the discrimination she had experienced for attempting to penetrate a liberal bastion as an unashamed conservative. Her story is moving, troubling, and brave — you won’t want to miss it.

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.

(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)


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