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U. of Iowa Scholar Will Get New Trial in Promotion-Bias Case

A federal appeals court has granted a new trial to a University of Iowa scholar who accused the institution of discriminating against her because of her conservative views, The Des Moines Register reported.

The scholar, Teresa R. Wagner, had asserted in a lawsuit that a former dean of Iowa’s law school refused to promote her because of her political beliefs and her work with conservative groups. In 2012 a jury found that Ms. Wagner’s First Amendment rights had not been violated, but deadlocked on a second claim that she had been denied equal-protection rights under the 14th Amendment.

A judge later dismissed the equal-protection claim and rejected Ms. Wagner’s bid for a new trial.

On Tuesday a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed the judge’s order and granted Ms. Wagner a new trial on the discrimination charge. The panel found that the judge in the case had improperly questioned jurors after initially dismissing them from the courtroom.

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