Tuesday, December 20, 2005


VIa the PA-ACLU's blog, We won! in Dover. No big surprise. The judge delivered his opinion weeks in advance of when we expected it, and the creationists put on an abysmal show. (Memo to myself, don't lie on the witness stand.) Among his findings:
ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.

the citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy. [my emphasis]

to preserve the separation of church and state mandated by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Art. I, § 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID.
It doesn't forbid such discussion, but it can't be required. IDC hasn't crossed that threshold, and may never do so.

Here's the ruling.

A 139 page ruling isn't short, so a full analysis will have to wait. At this juncture I'll say that this case represents a solid foundation for going after other ID activities, though a District Court ruling isn't binding precedent. It's doubtful that there will be an appeal, since the change in the Dover School Board has removed the advocates for the program. No one is yet reporting either way on that aspect.

If it's appealed and upheld, it would be a great win. After I've read it, I'll have a better sense of what weaknesses it would have on appeal.

What I've seen of the ruling so far is what I expected. The IDolators came off as buffoons, and the judge wasn't taken in by their dog and pony show.