Seventh Circuit Review


In the span of four months, the Seventh Circuit reversed the same district court judge, Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan, in three separate employment discrimination opinions. In all three cases, the district court had granted the employers’ motions for summary judgment in their entirety. However, the Seventh Circuit held that the majority of these rulings were improper due to the district judge’s inattention to critical details in the record and his misplaced reliance on minor technical rulings that sidestepped the cases’ glaring issues of credibility and contested fact. This Comment reviews the common themes in the Seventh Circuit’s criticisms of the district judge and questions whether these critiques harbor a broader meaning. In light of the fact that the district judge was recently appointed by President George W. Bush, who is often criticized for his disregard for employment discrimination rights, this Comment first explores whether the Seventh Circuit’s opinions contain a political subtext. Rejecting this hypothesis due to the tempered language of the Seventh Circuit’s criticism and the conservative makeup of the panels that decided and authored these opinions, this Comment concludes that the Seventh Circuit’s criticisms can be explained as a form of socialization of a newly appointed district court judge. In that sense, these criticisms can be understood as an attempt to bring a district judge more in line with the tendencies of the Seventh Circuit’s employment discrimination jurisprudence.

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