With new judge in place, Michigan's lawsuit challenging Jim Harbaugh moves forward

Michigan has managed to win one game without coach Jim Harbaugh, who was suspended as a result of the sign-stealing scandal. Michigan still wants a court order putting him on the sideline for the remaining regular-season games.

The lawsuit filed Friday by Michigan and Harbaugh is set for a Friday hearing. Judge Timothy Connors, a lecturer at the Michigan law school, recused himself. Judge Carol Kuhnke has inherited the case.

That said, the Big Ten could try to find a way to remove the case to federal court between now and Friday. It's a common device when an out-of-state defendant faces a state-court judge who was voted into, and can be voted out of, office by state residents. If sufficient grounds exist to remove the lawsuit, the case will be handled by a federal judge who is appointed for life and is therefore fully insulated from localized political considerations.

Wherever the case is handled, the question will be whether Michigan is entitled to a "preliminary injunction," preventing the suspension while the lawsuit challenging it proceeds. An effort by Michigan to get a temporary restraining order that would have allowed Harbaugh to coach on Saturday necessarily failed, because Judge Kuhnke did not grant it.

Over the next two weeks, Michigan travels to Maryland before hosting Ohio State.