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Friday, August 25, 2006 

Attention on Religious Liberty Case

Frequent Confirm Them contributor Quin Hillyer has this piece discussing a Summer decision from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The case concerned a campus chapter of the Christian Legal Society at the Southern Illinois University School of Law. They were stripped of their official student organization recognition after a complaint that they violated the school anti-discrimination policy. The group tried to get an injunction to restore their status while the lawsuits proceeded. The district court denied the injunction.

Hillyer examines the majority opinion written by Judge Diane Sykes. She and Judge Kanne said that the lower court was wrong to deny the injunction. As Hillyer writes and quotes...
But a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit voted 2-1 July 10 to grant the injunction, reasoning quite cogently that "the loss of First Amendment freedoms is presumed to constitute an irreparable injury for which money damages are not adequate, and injunctions protecting First Amendment freedoms are always in the public interest."
When the case came down, I wrote my own post about it, looking at both the majority and the dissent. You can find it here.

Judge Diane Sykes

Hillyer makes a point that I also made. Judge Sykes is reportedly high on the short list of potential Supreme Court nominees. This should not surprise anyone. Here is what I wrote in my previous post...
I think that this decision only makes her stock rise for a potential Supreme Court nomination. Religious liberty has become a big issue with many folks on the Right in the last decade or so. If the White House gets another vacancy in the next two and a half years and they want to appoint a woman, Judge Sykes will be high on the short list.
I feel strange quoting myself. I still do think that Hillyer and I are right. If a vacancy comes before the presidential election, Judge Sykes is a good bet.

Steve, have you studied the opinion by Judge Sykes in Wisconsin v. Oakley?


Any thoughts about it. It's from back when she was on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and it's the main reason why I'd be very concerned about a Sykes nomination.

Ah yes, the right to have children case.

I agree that it's a troubling dissent, but I certainly don't think it should be viewed as disqualifying. It's really the only blotch on her record that I've seen put forth in SCOTUS nomination discussions. If it was part of a pattern, I would be much more worried. I haven't seen anything that would frame this as something other than an isolated incident.

I will admit that some of my support for Judge Sykes is selfish (an MULS grad on the Court will help the prestige of my school).

However, I should make something clear that I suppose I haven't. Judge Sykes is not my favored choice if another vacancy arises. She's not even #2, #3, or #4. I would definitely support her if nominated though. With the expection of Oakley, I've been pleased with her work.

Fair enough.

I remember all the discussion about Judge Edith Brown Clement, and how everyone wished that she had decided a case that might indicate how she would approach social issues. But she hadn't been involved in such a case, and so was pretty much a blank slate. Well, here we have such a case that Sykes was involved with.

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  • I'm Steve
  • From Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
  • "There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." P.J. O'Rourke
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