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Did a Law School Discriminate Against a Woman for Being Politically Conservative? Court Denies Woman’s Claims of School’s Violation of First Amendment Rights.

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In Manning v. Jones, No. 16-1406, 875 F.3d 408, (2017), Teresa Manning (“Manning”) claimed the Dean of the University of Iowa College of Law discriminated against her, saying the dean of the College of Law had rejected her applications due to political discrimination in violation of the First Amendment, Manning sued the dean under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Manning contends that, during her first application, an associate dean advised her not to tell the faculty that a conservative law school had once offered her a full-time teaching position. Manning’s résumé, meanwhile, made plain her affiliation with conservative groups. Manning went before a jury, where the dean defended herself by asserting, among other things, that Manning’s applications had been rejected on their merits. The jury found that Manning did not establish that the dean had discriminated against her on the basis of her politics, and the district court denied her motion for a new trial.

The Court says Manning’s main brief fails to cite the parts of the record on which she relies, so it is almost impossible to do a review of this case. The Court says it cannot tell whether the district court erred in a ruling if Manning does not direct them to a place in the record where to find it, and so the Court will consider only those contentions that include appropriate citations.

Manning maintains that the district court misled the jury in its initial instructions when, in summarizing the case, it stated that the dean was going to argue that she was “obliged” to follow the faculty’s hiring recommendation. Since Manning does not tell the Court where to find the jury instruction in the record, it cannot consider her argument. Manning argues that the final instruction was erroneous, but she neither quotes the language of that instruction, nor directs the court to a place in the record it can be found. So the Court rejects this argument, too.

Manning says the district court erred in ruling that the dean could argue that she was not ultimately responsible for the law school’s hiring. According to Manning, the dean should have been barred from making that argument because during the oral argument of the second appeal the dean supposedly made a binding judicial admission of her responsibility. However, Manning does not identify where in the record the district court’s ruling or rulings took place. So, the Court does not address the contention.

Manning also maintains that she was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on her discrimination claim. But she did not raise this argument in her new-trial motion, and the district court did not decide it in denying the motion. Since Manning has appealed only the district court’s denial of her motion, not the judgment entered upon the jury’s verdict, this Court lacks jurisdiction to hear this argument. Because of the aforementioned reasons and lack of information, the lower court’s ruling is affirmed.

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