Marcus Bachmann

Judge Jeffrey Sutton

Over the weekend, Mark Oppenheimer wrote an interesting New York Times piece about the Sixth Circuit’s recent ruling in Ward v. Polite (PDF). In that case, Judge Jeffrey Sutton — noted feeder judge, judicial hottie, and possible SCOTUS nominee in a Republican administration — handed a (partial) victory to Julea Ward, an evangelical Christian who sued various teachers and administrators at Eastern Michigan University, where she had been studying counseling.

Here’s a concise summary of the facts, from the opening to Judge Sutton’s opinion (which is wonderfully clear; he’s great at explaining complex legal issues to large lay audiences; see also his Obamacare opinion):

When the university asked Ward to counsel a gay client, Ward asked her faculty supervisor either to refer the client to another student or to permit her to begin counseling and make a referral if the counseling session turned to relationship issues. The faculty supervisor referred the client. The university commenced a disciplinary hearing into Ward’s referral request and eventually expelled her from the program. Ward sued the university defendants under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Ward claimed that her expulsion violated her free speech and free exercise rights. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the university, but the Sixth Circuit reversed. At the same time, the Sixth Circuit held that Ward wasn’t entitled to summary judgment in her favor either: “At this stage of the case and on this record, neither side deserves to win as a matter of law.” So perhaps we’ll end up with a trial.

Who’s in the right here, Ward or the university? Let’s discuss….

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Earlier this morning, former IRS tax attorney and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann held a press conference to announce that she’d be dropping out of the race. Although she won the Iowa straw poll in August, with a percentage of votes in the single digits, she placed sixth during last night’s caucuses. In her concession speech, Bachmann stated that “[l]ast night the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice.” They sure did: they told her to STFU. Not even her high-powered lawyers from Patton Boggs could save her.

Let’s face it, she did the honorable thing. Unlike Rick Perry, who announced that he’d be going back to Texas to cry “reassess his campaign,” Bachmann grew a pair and decided end her embarrassment — but she has “no regrets, none whatsoever.”

It really is a shame that she decided to call it quits, because people love Michele Bachmann. Although she looks like a semi-retarded deer caught in headlights in her Newsweek cover, she’s usually one of the more attractive women in American politics.

She’s like Sarah Palin, but dumber, and with an inept stylist. With that said, we present you with a recap of Bachmann’s finest moments on the campaign trail….

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