Judge Bill Pryor of the 11th Circuit is perhaps most well-known in these parts for casting the critical 6th vote which upheld Florida's ban on gay adoption. That was a low point for the federal judiciary. But he's been showing some signs of independence these past few weeks -- first joining an opinion that held transgender discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, and now upholding a judgment that a student who refused to follow professional guidelines when they conflicted with her personal views on homosexuality could be expelled from a state university's counseling degree program (Pryor wrote an interesting concurrence to the latter which I encourage you to read).
What's changed? Well, one of my close law school friends is currently serving as Pryor's clerk. So I'll just credit her with all the good coming out of Birmingham