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Supreme Court of the United States

Are Conservative/Pro-Life Professors A Threat to Higher Education?

By Jordan Lorence posted on:
January 17, 2012

Katherine Kersten has written a provocative essay about the intense bias against hiring conservative and pro-life professors as college and university professors. She focuses on the case against the University of Iowa Law School involved Teresa Wagner, a qualified individual who sought to teach at the school that had a lopsided ratio of only one registered Republican among the 50 faculty members.  The law school refused to hire Ms. Wagner, in spite of her obvious qualification for the job.  Why would the law school reject a qualified candidate?  Because she was conservative and pro-life.   Kersten writes, "Wagner had committed one unforgivable sin:  She is pro-life, and actually once worked for the National Right to Life Committee in Washington, D.C."    The University of Iowa instead chose a candidate right out of law school rather than add another conservative to its faculty.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in its recent ruling in favor of Ms. Wagner, stating that her lawsuit could proceed to trial on her claims that the University of Iowa violated the First Amendment by refusing to hire her.  The Eighth Circuit's opinion states: "No more direct assault on academic freedom can be imagined than for the school authorities to [refuse to hire] a teacher because of his or her philosophical, political, or ideological beliefs."

Wagner's lawyer, quoted in a New York Times article, said “It’s gotten to the point where the law school’s diversity efforts are to eliminate everyone from the mainstream,” he said. “They espouse cultural diversity, but won’t consider the conservative viewpoint.”

The ADF Center for Academic Freedom has been fighting for academic freedom for conservative, Christian and pro-life faculty members who are frequently denied hiring and tenure because of their beliefs in such cases as Mike Adams' lawsuit against the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.

If you have been censored or punished because of your faith give us a call at 1-800-TellADF or Tell us your story of injustice.  We are here for you!


Jordan Lorence

Jordan Lorence

Senior Counsel, Director of Strategic Engagement

Jordan Lorence serves as senior counsel and director of strategic engagement with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he plays a key role with the Strategic Relations and Training Team.

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