PvM posted Entry 1634 on November 1, 2005 11:26 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1629

Just when you think you have seen and heard it all, yet another witness is called to testify and proves you wrong.

Point in case, Alan Bonsell’s testimony evoked a strong response from the judge (page 126-)

the Judge wrote:

THE COURT: All right. Assuming Mr. Gillen has some redirect, I’m going to exercise my prerogative before we break today, because you may have some lengthy redirect, is that a fair statement?
MR. GILLEN: I think that I have accumulated a considerable list of questions.
THE COURT: I want to exercise my prerogative, and I have some questions before we break today. I would like, Mr. Harvey, if you would hand up to me the witness’s deposition testimony, specifically
as it related to the question of the $850.00 check. I believe it’s the deposition as taken by Mr. Rothschild in January of 2005.
MR. HARVEY: Yes, Your Honor. My copy is marked up. Do we have an unmarked copy? Or if you want, I could just have it delivered to your chambers in a few minutes.
THE COURT: I want it now, if you have it. Hand it up. And can you direct me to the pages, and specifically the pages, Mr. Harvey, that you referred to in your questions?
MR. HARVEY: Yes, Your Honor. I read from page 13, line 6, through page 16, line 20.
THE COURT: All right. Give me a moment, please. That’s fine. I see where you were. All right. Let me ask you.
BY THE COURT:
Q. When did you first become aware of the fact that your father was in possession of the $850.00 that was being donated to buy Of Pandas and People?
A. Well, Mr. Buckingham gave the check to me to pass to my father. He said this was money that he collected for donations to the book. So I gave it to him.
Q. So you were the conduit –
A. Yeah.
Q. – by which your father received the $850.00?
A. Yes.

From the York Daily Record

“You tell me why you didn’t say Mr. Buckingham was involved,” a visibly angry Jones said, staring at Bonsell as he read from his deposition.

Bonsell said he misspoke. And then, “That’s my fault, your honor.”

Bonsell said he didn’t think it mattered because Buckingham had not actually donated any of his money. Rather, the money had been collected from members of his church.

But Jones pointed out that Bonsell had said he had never spoken to anybody else about the donations.

The judge also wanted to know why the money needed to be forwarded to his father, why Buckingham couldn’t have purchased the books himself.

Bonsell stammered.

“I still haven’t heard an answer from you,” Jones said.

“He said he’d take it off the table,” Bonsell said.

“You knew you were under oath?” Jones asked at one point.

Mike Argento, whose excellent articles already have addressed many of the follies reports

Mike Argento wrote:

n the witness stand during Monday’s session of the Dover Panda Trial, Dover Area School Board member Alan Bonsell accused the press of just making things up.

Keeping that in mind, here’s a description of what happened Monday afternoon.

Wearing a nice gray suit, Bonsell answered every question to the best of his ability and was positively forthcoming and when the lawyers pointed out certain inconsistencies in his testimony, he thanked them profusely and offered expansive explanations for why he may have been misunderstood and cleared up any misunderstandings that may have arisen.

OK, all of that was made up.

Except for the part about Bonsell wearing a gray suit.

Actually, at the conclusion of his testimony, he was in serious danger of ruining that suit.

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Comment #54728

Posted by Matt Brauer on November 2, 2005 1:05 AM (e)

Wow.

I’m a little chagrined that the trial has come to this display of mendacity and incompetence by the Dover School Board. I’d much rather see the case decided on its merits than on the antics of these particular officials. It makes me really want to check into who’s on MY local school board.

The Discovery Insitute may have been clumsy with respect to the friend of the court brief (“We’re not running a law school here!). But I think they knew what they were doing when they got as far away as they could from this train wreck.

Comment #54729

Posted by Joel Sax on November 2, 2005 1:28 AM (e)

I’m watching this with amusement. I’ve often said that the reason why I am not a Creationist is that it requires me to lie and I try to avoid lying.

It appears here that the habit of lying is endemic to the Creationist state of mind as is a little fraud or larceny or what do you call what Bonsell did with that check…?

Comment #54730

Posted by morbius on November 2, 2005 2:09 AM (e)

I’m a little chagrined that the trial has come to this display of mendacity and incompetence by the Dover School Board. I’d much rather see the case decided on its merits than on the antics of these particular officials.

What merit? Take the mendacity out of ID and there’s virtually nothing left. It’s not just the Dover School Board; Dembski, Behe, Nelson, the entire staff of DI are proven dissemblers; there’s not an honorable person in the whole lot.

It makes me really want to check into who’s on MY local school board.

As well you should – there has been been a concerted campaign to put “stealth” fundamentalists on school boards for years – doesn’t everyone here know this? Where have people been? Here’s a Mother Jones article from 1994:
http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/1994/03/galst.html

Creationism in public schools? Abstinence-only sex education?

Sad to say, but the curriculum battles faced by Mark Zingarelli and the residents of Stanwood, Wash., are not isolated incidents, but individual skirmishes in a war that could determine the fate of public education–and perhaps public life–in America.

Sound familiar? Read the whole thing and think about the next decade, having given the store away during the last one.

Comment #54739

Posted by Fernmonkey on November 2, 2005 4:01 AM (e)

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Judge Jones doesn’t sound very happy, does he?

Comment #54753

Posted by Schmitt. on November 2, 2005 6:31 AM (e)

Good Lord. This trial is getting to epic proportions of silliness.

-Schmitt.

Comment #54756

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on November 2, 2005 7:21 AM (e)

Wow, the Judge just absolutely buried him.

Comment #54760

Posted by Ben on November 2, 2005 8:06 AM (e)

It always amazes me how shallow the convictions of, what appears to me to be, most Creationists and evangelicals are. They pay lip service to Christianity but time and again when the chips are down they lie, cheat, and do whatever duplicitious thing they can to force their agenda. Don’t they still say “So help me God” when they take the oath to tell the truth? Supposedly that isn’t supposed to mean very much to me as an atheist… and yet I couldn’t even consider perjuring myself in a court of law.

I’m not saying there’s not some moral failings on my side of the fence… BUT they, the Christian right, claim to have a higher moral ground… It just disgusts me all the more.

Comment #54764

Posted by Steve LaBonne on November 2, 2005 8:16 AM (e)

I didn’t realize until I read that Argento column that the judge is a Dubya appointee. That’s a nice touch!

Comment #54767

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on November 2, 2005 9:30 AM (e)

Steve:
I think the judge is a Bush 41 appointee, not Dubya’s.

Matt wrote

The Discovery Insitute may have been clumsy with respect to the friend of the court brief (”We’re not running a law school here!). But I think they knew what they were doing when they got as far away as they could from this train wreck.

Actually, while the DI’s certainly insisting they have nothing to do with this, they should’t be allowed to get away with it. They backed the BoE and consulted with the creationists on it from very early on, well before the case broke the national news. They were probably instrumental in getting the change in focus from Creationism to ID, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they had been involved in crafting the statement (it’s way too sophisticated for the BoE yahoos). Even after they decided to keep their distance because of the legal ramifications and the heavy Creationist footprints, they sent their top team of experts as witnesses, and put substantial effort in the legal proceedings. Even now they are busy filing briefs etc.

Of course, they are well aware the case is near hopeless on the merits, and are trying to cover their behinds, but for them to claim they are against the Dover policy is just ludicrous. Mark Ryland being caught blatantly lying about this at the AEI panel discussion by none else than TMLC’s Thompson was a clear demostration of the DI’s strategy of disinformation. The public should continuously be made aware of the DI’s deep involvement with and support for the Dover BoE.

Comment #54768

Posted by Matt Brauer on November 2, 2005 9:36 AM (e)

Morbius wrote:

What merit?

On the merit that ID is intrinsically religious.

Comment #54769

Posted by Keanus on November 2, 2005 9:39 AM (e)

Judge Jones was a political protege of former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge. His previous public service (if I remember correctly) was as the chair of Pennsylvania’s liquor control board that runs the state’s $1.5 billion/year chain of liquor stores. Ridge was instrumental in getting him the Federal judgeship in 2001. I know nothing about Jones’s personal political views, but Ridge, when governor, was moderate and reasonably rational {pro-choice and sought to sell the liquor stores), the complete opposite of Dubya. Jones’s views are probably similar.

Comment #54770

Posted by Flint on November 2, 2005 9:56 AM (e)

I’m not saying there’s not some moral failings on my side of the fence… BUT they, the Christian right, claim to have a higher moral ground… It just disgusts me all the more.

Well, we can decide these are just bad people. But I think that in their own minds, they DO have a higher moral ground - they are soldiers for Jesus. And anything is fair in this war, because the ONLY thing that counts in war is winning. So it’s OK to lie to the enemy. Indeed (as Russell wrote) lying is a virtue when you’re lying for Jesus.

I can only hope that some sensible person in authority will be formally introduced to how the controversy is presented when creationists control the forum. Dembski’s blog might be considered Exhibit A for “teaching both sides”.

Comment #54771

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on November 2, 2005 10:04 AM (e)

So, could someone familiar with the legal system fill us in? What’s the usual procedure? Who brings the charges of perjury? Does that usually come after closure of the current trial?

Comment #54772

Posted by kim on November 2, 2005 10:10 AM (e)

When a creationist says “So help me God” in the courtroom, they probably mean that God will help them to cover up their lies…….

Comment #54774

Posted by Kevin on November 2, 2005 10:26 AM (e)

morbius wrote:

What merit? Take the mendacity out of ID and there’s virtually nothing left. It’s not just the Dover School Board; Dembski, Behe, Nelson, the entire staff of DI are proven dissemblers; there’s not an honorable person in the whole lot.

Yes, but we’ve got a whole new layer of mendacity forming that’s so deep that the judge isn’t even going to have to dig down to the original layer, which unfortunately may mean that that layer isn’t going to be exposed for what it is until some other court case.

Comment #54775

Posted by Mona on November 2, 2005 10:39 AM (e)

So, could someone familiar with the legal system fill us in? What’s the usual procedure? Who brings the charges of perjury? Does that usually come after closure of the current trial?

Since it is a criminal matter, the usual procedure is for the Court to refer the issue to the U.S. Attorney. Given the somewhat unusual, sua sponte questioning by Judge Jones (and his rhetorical question about whether Mr. Bonsell knew he was under oath), it sure seems he is p*ssed and so may have something like that in mind.

Here’s the thing: perjury, whether in state or federal courts, is rampant. Everyone involved in the judicial system knows it, including judges. Way back when I was stuck doing divorces, I was surprised folks were not growing long noses on the stand. Graduating to commercial disputes and the like in federal courts did not improve my impression of humanity’s bent for truthfulness.

But you have to be slick about it (not that I am advising that people commit perjury, with the caveat that they only do it well). What went on here re: Dover is so brazen and inept, and such an insult to the Court, my mind reels. Couple that with Buckingham’s quite incredible denials that he ever, EVEN ONCE, uttered the word “creationism” – when Fox News has him on tape saying exactly that – and Judge Jones may be concluding he has a pack of liars on his hands in the defendants. (During the cross-X of Buckingham, Judge Jones advised the plaintiffs’ lawyer that he - the lawyer - had been “effective” in impeaching Buckingham.)

These Dover Idists make the DI look like models of sophistication and probity. And that is damned hard to do.

Comment #54777

Posted by Mona on November 2, 2005 10:54 AM (e)

Yes, but we’ve got a whole new layer of mendacity forming that’s so deep that the judge isn’t even going to have to dig down to the original layer, which unfortunately may mean that that layer isn’t going to be exposed for what it is until some other court case.

Oh, I don’t think so. Remember, it is not unconstitutional to teach bad science. But it is unconstitutional to teach something religion masquerading as science for a religious purpose in public schools. Hence, all the silly posturing and denial that churches and Bible talk were ever at all involved in School Board doings re: Of Pandas and People. Why no one – no one I tell you – ever uttered the word creationism, or collected money for the textbook at church. Because such activities go to the unconstitutional purpose for the policy under review; hence, they did not happen, you see.

All this apparent perjury about whether creationism was discussed, and how the money for the textbook was obtained, strongly indicates that the motives for the Dover ID policy were religious, and the defendants know it. Hizzoner will have no difficulty establishing that prong of the test.

And do you really think he will be disposed to believe the testimony that “creationism” was a mere “placeholder” in Pandas, until they settled on “Intelligent Design,” which absotively, posilutely is NOT creationism? Bah. This judge clearly knows mendacity when he sees it. My guess is he has about had his fill of it.

Comment #54778

Posted by Joe McFaul on November 2, 2005 10:58 AM (e)

This is usually what happens when a judge detects perjury. A referral to the U.S. Attorney or District Attorney is rare. (I’ve only seen it happen once in 20+ years, and charges weren’t filed.) I’ve seen a federal judge conduct his own questioning several times and it’s almost always bad for the witness.

From the transcript, it appears the judge beieves that perjury was committed.

Personally, I think this is great. One problem with these cases is that the get appealed. The chances of reversal are much lower if the trial judge has indicated that one side committed perjury.

This is especially important if the whole thrust of the case is that ID is a sham for creationism. With perjury in the record to support that conclusion, appealate reversal is much less likely.

Comment #54783

Posted by Mona on November 2, 2005 12:29 PM (e)

I concur w/ Joe McFaul that it is rare for a Court to refer suspected perjury to the U.S. Attorney. But if the suspected perjurer is to be personally punished, that would have to be the procedure.

I also agree that this augers very well for making Jones’ expected decision less reversible. For one thing, the suspected perjury is entirely material to a crucial legal question, namely, whether there was a religious purpose in devising the Dover school board’s policy. The apparent falsehoods all are attempts to remove religious commentary and activity from the chain of events giving rise to the policy under review, because at some point the defendants became aware that their religiously-motivated antics could be fatal to that policy.

Comment #54784

Posted by Gary Hurd on November 2, 2005 12:32 PM (e)

OK, after I stopped laughing I started to have the same thoughts as Matt. We have a truly perfect setup here- a hanging curve ball with bases loaded- but, I wonder if there will be an appeal? And if there is no appeal, how significant will the result be outside of Dover?

Comment #54787

Posted by mark on November 2, 2005 12:41 PM (e)

And this truth-challenged individual is running for reelection to the school board, isn’t he?

Comment #54788

Posted by Mona on November 2, 2005 12:52 PM (e)

Gary Hurd: If defendants do not appeal, then we have one district court case that, outside of its jurisdiction in which its holding is mandatory, constitutes persuasive authority. As the only Court so far to consider ID, that is more than the IDers would have next time around.

Now, of course, we want the defendants to appeal. The DI I’m sure would be adamantly opposed to it, but the Thomas More crew clearly do not take their orders from DI. What the Thomas More guys would conclude to be in their client’s best interest, and whether the client would be guided by that advice, are hard to predict. And, then, there is the fact that the school board becomes differently constituted in, I believe, January. It is hard to know how a new board would feel.

Comment #54790

Posted by Gary Hurd on November 2, 2005 1:04 PM (e)

Just speculation; suppose a pro-science board is elected and chooses to appeal (assuming free legal representation). They could appeal all they wanted to, with or without TMC support, or DI objections.

I think I like that.

Comment #54792

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on November 2, 2005 1:13 PM (e)

And this truth-challenged individual is running for reelection to the school board, isn’t he?

Yah, you betja

Comment #54793

Posted by Engineer-Poet, FCD, ΔΠ&Gamma on November 2, 2005 1:27 PM (e)

Oh, goodness.  Perhaps Americans United would be willing to finance an appeal just to make things even worse for the IDiots?

Comment #54795

Posted by Engineer-Poet, FCD, ΔΠ&Gamma on November 2, 2005 1:29 PM (e)

Sorry, I didn’t realize this wasn’t my own private rut.  I’ll get my mind out of it.

Comment #54796

Posted by Jason on November 2, 2005 1:30 PM (e)

Gary, I like the way you think. That is the kind of stab in the face maneuvering absolutely necessary in a case like that. Kudos.

Comment #54798

Posted by Mona on November 2, 2005 1:44 PM (e)

One incentive the board could have to appeal is that if they lose, I believe they are saddled with plaintiffs’ atty fees. We are not talking chump change, here. But if, for whatever combination of reasons, it would not be in the school board’s interest to appeal, I would doubt that even a pro-science board would do it. That body’s first allegiance is, and should be, to the Dover Area School District.

Comment #54803

Posted by Albion on November 2, 2005 2:07 PM (e)

It’s a pity they didn’t bear that in mind all along rather than using their positions on the school board to take a stand for “someone who died on a cross 2000 years ago.”

Whenever I see this sort of thing, whether it’s a court case where creationists contradict things they said previously or a debate where they deliberately misrepresent scientists, and remember that one of their main reasons (so they say) for promoting this stuff is to restore morality and ethics to the country after such qualities had been destroyed by the godless secular evolutionist atheist bad guys, I honestly don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The really sad thing is that so many people believe them when they claim to be the ones taking the moral high road in the face of a lot of hard evidence to the contrary.

Comment #54805

Posted by Red Right Hand on November 2, 2005 2:28 PM (e)

Assuming there is an appeal, does anyone know anything about the political/ideological makeup of the appeals court?

Comment #54814

Posted by Gary Hurd on November 2, 2005 3:17 PM (e)

One incentive the board could have to appeal is that if they lose, I believe they are saddled with plaintiffs’ atty fees.

Yeah, the nitwits blew their lieability (spelling intentional) insurance when they used TMC to represent them. PA.ACLU said the other day that the cost would exceed a million. All the plaintiff experts donated their time, but I think that they recieved travel and per diem.

On the otherhand, couldn’t the ACLU, AU and “players to be named later” cover, or defer the costs? Or consider, the testimony by Buckingham under cross-X revealed that the DI and TMC were in this up to their elbows offering “legal advice” before the suit was filed. I think that Dover SB could even consider sueing the DI, and TMC for negligence (at least to cover costs + appeal).

Comment #54824

Posted by Mona on November 2, 2005 4:01 PM (e)

Or consider, the testimony by Buckingham under cross-X revealed that the DI and TMC were in this up to their elbows offering “legal advice” before the suit was filed. I think that Dover SB could even consider suing the DI, and TMC for negligence (at least to cover costs + appeal).

That’s an interesting, and delicious consideration. If the DI was offering “legal advice” from other than licensed attorneys, then it is in doo-doo. If its “legal strategies manual” for teaching ID was relied on by DASB, then a loss could expose DI to liability, even if the thing was drafted by lawyers. (Especially in light of DI’s NOW insisting ID is not ready for the classroom.)And, TMC could have exposure for similar reasons, altho there is nothing necessarily wrong with its having been involved in advising the DASB long before the litigation.

This would all create an incentive for TMC and even DI to appeal any adverse ruling. But a suit against one or both could still be fun. For one thing, the atty-client privilege largely goes out the window when a party sues its lawyer, for the obvious reason that the lawyer needs to disclose in order to defend him or her self.

Wouldn’t you just love to know everything the TMC has been telling the DASB every step of the way? To get the whole skinny on how and why the DI and other witnesses withdrew?

Well, this is all fun, but it may be premature – we do have to prevail yet. Still, that seems increasingly likely.

Comment #54826

Posted by Tim on November 2, 2005 4:06 PM (e)

Andrea Bottaro wrote:

Steve:
I think the judge is a Bush 41 appointee, not Dubya’s.

Nope, he was appointed under W: see bio here.

Comment #54827

Posted by Tevildo on November 2, 2005 4:08 PM (e)

IANAL, and that, but if it were proved that TMC or the DI had actually told Buckingham, et al, to deny that they said “creationism” at any stage in the process, despite independent witness and documentary evidence that they did, what would be the repercussions? It seems fairly clear that this _did_ happen, even if it can’t be proved in court.

Comment #54842

Posted by morbius on November 2, 2005 6:09 PM (e)

Matt Brauer wrote:

On the merit that ID is intrinsically religious.

But it’s “the antics of these particular officials” that establishes intent to teach religion in this case, and that’s what the judge must decide; going beyond that was never on the table, not at this trial level. Your dismay at the antics misses an essential point, I think – given the fact that this was religiously motivated, they had to either lie on the stand or plead guilty.

P.S. Don’t forget to check into who’s on your local school board.

Comment #54850

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 2, 2005 6:51 PM (e)

Question for the lawyer-types here —- if, as Buckingham’s testimony indicates, it was the Thomas More Law Center itself who originally suggested introducing “Pandas” into the school district, what potential liability do THEY have in this whole thing?

Comment #54866

Posted by Mona on November 2, 2005 7:56 PM (e)

if, as Buckingham’s testimony indicates, it was the Thomas More Law Center itself who originally suggested introducing “Pandas” into the school district, what potential liability do THEY have in this whole thing?

I haven’t read Buckingham’s transcript, so I’m not clear as to in what capacity TMC was acting in that early history, that is, whether they had lawyer hats on vouching that the book was legal for a public school science class. If that is how it happened (or did they just act as conduits of info about a book they had heard of?), they have potential liability, but not certain such. Lawyers cannot successfully be sued for legal malpractice merely for being wrong when the law is not settled.

But they could have to show how they arrived at a place where they felt confident about any guarantees of constitutionality they may have made, how familiar they were with ID and the book in particular. It could nasty for them.

Comment #54892

Posted by Keanus on November 2, 2005 10:58 PM (e)

Someone asked about the nature of the appeals court. If one party were to appeal, it would be to the Third Circuit based in Philadelphia. For the appeal a panel of three judges (out of 16, including three senior judges) would be randomly chosen. Incidentally the Third Circuit judges include Sam Alito (the putative replacement for O’Conner on the Supreme Court), Donald Trump’s sister, and Pennslvania’s current Governor’s wife, Marjorie Rendell. The sitting judges on the Third Circuit are evenly divided between Republican and Democratic appointees. Historically, it’s been thought of as “liberal” but is currently considered middle of the road.

Having said that, should the DASB lose, and the new board declines to appeal, I will enjoy seeing the fight between the DASB, the TMLC and the DI. The latter two will leave the DASB holding the bag for the million plus dollars that the ACLU and AU will seek. The DASB is not a wealthy district, serving families who are mostly blue collar or farmers with very little industry. Should the DASB lose, as now seems likely, science will win but not definitively (unless the DASB appeals all the way to the Supreme Court and it takes the case), but the real losers will be the students and faculty in the Dover schools. Coming up with a million dollars will not be easy. Sadly the board members will be immune from personal liability (Buckingham has already resigned and moved to North Carolina), although I doubt any have the affluence that could meet a judgement in any significant way.

Comment #54897

Posted by Gary Hurd on November 2, 2005 11:58 PM (e)

Well it raised another question in my mind, when Bonsell was asked about how he selected TMC he did not mention that it was they who had refered Pandas to the Board, but I recall this was obvious from Buckingham. Bonsell may not have “known” or maybe he “forgot” again. No other members of the board even admit to have read all of Pandas, and even Bonsell now says he didn’t read all of it or can’t remember much about it.

Aso prior to the filing, the board was circulating material supplied to them by the DI. But now, nobody is sure if they saw anything.

Comment #54899

Posted by Alexey Merz on November 3, 2005 12:18 AM (e)

Okay, everyone, here’s the fun part. I propose that we start a pool. The idea is to come as close as possible to predicting how the DI will spin this as a great victory for ID. The “winner” gets to buy everyone else a round at the ‘Thumb.

Comment #54901

Posted by K.E. on November 3, 2005 12:46 AM (e)

My guess is they will hire the pre war Iraqi information minister.

“I can assure you that those villains will recognize, will discover in appropriate time in the future how stupid they are and how they are pretending things which have never taken place.”

http://www.welovetheiraqiinformationminister.com/

Comment #54902

Posted by Tevildo on November 3, 2005 12:56 AM (e)

How many entries do we get? :)

1. The DASB and TMLC are misguided snake-handlers who thought that ID is somehow related to creationism; Behe’s testimony proves that it isn’t, if you read the right bits of it.

2. We would have proved that ID is science if the judge had allowed Dembski’s expert report into the record as the Gospel Truth, free from any misleading contamination by cross-examination.

3. The judge ignored every witness except Forrest, who is an atheist and therefore a liar. This reinforces our need to eradicate atheism from the world, so that trials may be fair in the future.

4. (Probably won’t be used by the DI, but expect it to appear on lots of websites.) Eric Rothschild is Jewish. Need we say more?

Comment #54909

Posted by Fernmonkey on November 3, 2005 4:55 AM (e)

That body’s first allegiance is, and should be, to the Dover Area School District.

Which perhaps they should have thought of before going with a law firm (albeit pro bono) that their insurance wouldn’t cover.

I really feel terrible for the teachers and students in those schools. All that money gone to waste.

Comment #54912

Posted by Ed Darrell on November 3, 2005 5:08 AM (e)

If the DI was offering “legal advice” from other than licensed attorneys, then it is in doo-doo. If its “legal strategies manual” for teaching ID was relied on by DASB, then a loss could expose DI to liability, even if the thing was drafted by lawyers. (Especially in light of DI’s NOW insisting ID is not ready for the classroom.)And, TMC could have exposure for similar reasons, altho there is nothing necessarily wrong with its having been involved in advising the DASB long before the litigation.

DI’s fellows have been claiming, in books and law journal articles, that it is legal to teach ID – no problem. De Wolf had an article in the Utah LR a couple of years ago. Francis Beckwith has a book and several articles on the issue. Beckwith demurs that his advice is “philosophical,” and he’s not a lawyer.

It’s telling that the school board attorneys usually advise the school boards that doing what the Dover board did is patently illegal and will lead to liability. The Thomas More Center volunteered to cover the expenses of litigation for the school board in Darby, Montana, a while back – but the board’s own attorney pointed out that liability would still attach if they lost. Ultimately, the board sorta backed off.

With the exception of the recent article by Barbara Forrest and others, and a pending article by Timothy Sandefur I’ve heard rumors about, and with the exeption of all case law on the topic (NCSE has a very nice, brief rundown at their site), a casual and careless reader of the literature might get the misimpression that ID is legally hunky-dory. That is, someone who reads science sloppily might get bad legal ideas if they read the law as badly.

If Einstein didn’t really say it, he should have: “The difference between intelligence and stupidity is that there are limits to intelligence.”

Comment #54917

Posted by Dean Morrison on November 3, 2005 6:10 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #54918

Posted by Dean Morrison on November 3, 2005 6:12 AM (e)

Remember that the plaintiffs in this case are not the readers of the Panda’s thumb or the scientific community at large - they are the parents of children attending the school. As much as we might like to see copious amounts of egg all over the faces of the school board - if this results in: huge financial losses; inability to meet the teachers pay demands; loss of school trips; books ; an a reduced level of education for the kids - who are the losers?
I can’t imagine this going down well in the playground; and no-one in their right mind is going to sacrifice their kids education for the sake of keeping a sticker out of a book, even if there is a higher principle involved. Who would want to get involved in a similar case in the future if that is going to be the likely outcome.
Can’t some way be found of protecting the education of all the kids in the school? otherwise the ID’ers will be crowing that ‘our’ side don’t really have the kids education at heart and are prepared to sacrifice it for the cause of suppressing academic freedom and the true faith.

Comment #54921

Posted by Tevildo on November 3, 2005 7:45 AM (e)

Good point. Is there any way of recovering the costs from the individual board members or their legal advisers (TMLC or the DI)?

They were, after all, repeatedly warned about the risks - by the teachers, by the Americans United representative at the board meeting that’s been the main subject of the trial, by their own lawyers, and, finally, by Pepper Hamilton at the start of the process. They must have some liability, based on their ignoring of all that advice?

Comment #54925

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 3, 2005 8:12 AM (e)

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Comment #54927

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 3, 2005 8:32 AM (e)

Remember that the plaintiffs in this case are not the readers of the Panda’s thumb or the scientific community at large - they are the parents of children attending the school.

Remember also that this entire mess – all of it – is the fault of the school board, and the local morons who elected it. No one held a gun to their heads and forced them into it, and they have no one to blame for the predictable results of it, except themselves. I have no sympathy at all for them.

As much as we might like to see copious amounts of egg all over the faces of the school board - if this results in: huge financial losses; inability to meet the teachers pay demands; loss of school trips; books ; an a reduced level of education for the kids - who are the losers?

No one. The district already couldn’t do any of those things before the lawsuit was even filed. Mostly because the school board members were much more interested in running a religious crusade than running a school district.

They made their own bed. I’m not impressed by listening to them whine about sleeping in it.

I can’t imagine this going down well in the playground

Then let’s make sure the playground understands whose fault this all is. And let’s also make sure that all the adults standing around the playground realize they they elected the morons whose fault this all is.

and no-one in their right mind is going to sacrifice their kids education for the sake of keeping a sticker out of a book

Or putting one in.

Who would want to get involved in a similar case in the future if that is going to be the likely outcome.

Indeed, and that is why I think we should make the outcome as utterly painful as possible. First Amendment court fights are long, drawn-out, and horribly expensive – and the ID/creationists have lost every single one they have ever been involved with. If they are stupid enough to do it anyway, then they deserve whatever they get in consequence. And they have no one to blame but themselves (and the people who elected them).

You can bet that the Kansas Kooks are watching from afar and, seeing their own future in Dover, are soiling their undies right now.

I say, go ahead and bankrupt the school district. Nuke the whole thing.

It will teach school board members all over the country that using their position to advance their ID religious opinions is not only a certain loser in court, but also will result in (publicly and expensively) destroying their school district (as well as their jobs).

It will teach local taxpayers that electing idiots like this will come back to bite them right where it hurts the most — in their wallet.

And it will teach kids what happens when religious nuts are allowed to gain political power.

Can’t some way be found of protecting the education of all the kids in the school?

Yes —- don’t elect idiots like this to the school board. And if you do elect them anyway, then don’t complain and moan about the inevitable consequences. Just shut up and pay up.

Fire burns. And if someone is stupid enough to stick their hand in the fire anyway, well, they’ll learn their lesson the hard way. Dover had to learn its lesson the hard way. Hopefully, other school districts around the country will learn by watching. If not, then THEY will learn their lesson the hard way, too.

If the current Dover board members who are up for re-election, actually get re-elected, then *any and all* sympathy for the district should disappear instantly. They deserve whatever they get.

If we step in and insulate the kooks from the consequences of their actions, then we remove the incentive for them to *not carry out those actions again*.

I say, let the lesson sink in. As painfully as it needs to.

otherwise the ID’ers will be crowing that ‘our’ side don’t really have the kids education at heart and are prepared to sacrifice it for the cause of suppressing academic freedom and the true faith.

Then let the IDers step forward and bravely pay the bill themselves. After all, the whole mess is their fault to begin with.

Instead, they’ll just run away and leave the deluded rubes holding the bag. And since the rubes were willing dupes, they deserve it.

As for the kids, it’s my understanding that under state law, any school district that faces financial ruin will be taken over and run by the state. No matter HOW broke it is, schools must still meet the state education standards.

Me, I’d like to see the Dover district disbanded and folded into a neighboring district – one where the board isn’t willing to destroy itself over a religious crusade.

Comment #54929

Posted by Aagcobb on November 3, 2005 8:47 AM (e)

Tevildo, people who are elected or appointed to quasi-legislative government bodies to use their best judgment to make discretionary policy decisions are absolutely immune from civil liability for those decisions. This immunity is essential in order for democratic government to function; who would serve on boards, in state legislatures or in congress if they had to face financial ruinous lawsuits every time they voted on a controversial issue?

The IDists will certainly try to spin the massive attorney’s fees they have to pay to the ACLU, however, the ACLU lawyers have to be paid somehow, and it might help make the next schoolboard to consider teaching intelligent design think long and hard about how they are about to financially ruin their school district.

Comment #54934

Posted by Tevildo on November 3, 2005 10:05 AM (e)

Aagcobb wrote:

people who are elected or appointed to quasi-legislative government bodies to use their best judgment to make discretionary policy decisions are absolutely immune from civil liability for those decisions.

Just to clarify - this is an _absolute_ immunity, no matter how “unreasonable” or even illegal the actions of the officials are, as long as they’re being done in an official capacity?

This immunity is essential in order for democratic government to function;

We seem to do quite well without it in the UK. :) Officials acting ultra vires are personally liable, and we also have the tort of “misfeasance in public office” to cover the case where an infra vires act of an official is “an abuse of public power for an improper or ulterior motive” (Steyn LJ, Three Rivers vs Bank of England). There’s nothing similar in the States?

Comment #54936

Posted by Dean Morrison on November 3, 2005 10:07 AM (e)

Rev Dr Lenny Flank - the point I was trying to make was “Why should the plaintiffs’ kids suffer?”

..I can’t imagine this going down well in the playground..

Then let’s make sure the playground understands whose fault this all is. And let’s also make sure that all the adults standing around the playground realize they they elected the morons whose fault this all is.

How are we going to make the playground understand exactly? - I don’t think that advising the plaintiffs’ kids to resort to name calling really helps.
and…

…Who would want to get involved in a similar case in the future if that is going to be the likely outcome?…

Indeed, and that is why I think we should make the outcome as utterly painful as possible.

..remember it was the plaintiffs that filed the lawsuit.. that’s what a plaintiff is.. who will set forward to be a plaintiff if the outcome is “as utterly painful as possible”
- apart from that I agree with you sentiments - perhaps the best option would be for the school to be taken over by the state as you say. Another irony in all this is that Buckingham was elected, and Harkins appointed:- on the basis of their supposed concern for ‘financial probity’ - seemingly they objected to paying for a new school and wanted a cheaper version.

Comment #54941

Posted by Aagcobb on November 3, 2005 10:37 AM (e)

Telvido wrote: Just to clarify - this is an _absolute_ immunity, no matter how “unreasonable” or even illegal the actions of the officials are, as long as they’re being done in an official capacity?

Yes, so long as the action is within the function of the office. For example, a school board member can’t be held personally liable for voting to teach ID creationism in the district, but if he proceeds to slug a constituent at a school board meeting he can be held personally liable for assault.

We seem to do quite well without it in the UK. :) Officials acting ultra vires are personally liable, and we also have the tort of “misfeasance in public office” to cover the case where an infra vires act of an official is “an abuse of public power for an improper or ulterior motive” (Steyn LJ, Three Rivers vs Bank of England). There’s nothing similar in the States?

There are many officials who can be sued who have only qualified immunity which can be overcome by showing they engaged in acts they should have known violated the plaintiffs constitutional rights (short form version of the test); absolute immunity is reserved for people like judges, prosecutors and legislators, which includes people on quasi-legislative entities like school boards.

Comment #54961

Posted by Tevildo on November 3, 2005 12:28 PM (e)

absolute immunity is reserved for people like judges, prosecutors and legislators, which includes people on quasi-legislative entities like school boards.

Ahh, I see, thanks. In England, there isn’t any legislature apart from Parliament itself (which _is_ priveleged in this way) - local government is all considered part of the executive. A disinterested observer might make the point that the US definiton of “legislature” seems to be set a little too wide on looking at this case - but that isn’t something that affects the practicalities of the situation. :)

Comment #54995

Posted by Aagcobb on November 3, 2005 2:47 PM (e)

A disinterested observer might make the point that the US definiton of “legislature” seems to be set a little too wide on looking at this case

Here in the colonies we’re awfully litigious and not as civilized as you Brits. For example, on another thread here there is a link to a religious group called “The Mighty Cannon” which is threatening to sue an Indiana school board to get ID taught there. If they could also threaten to financially ruin the school board members by holding them personally liable, the threat alone could cow the school board into allowing intelligent design into the classroom.

Comment #55040

Posted by Tevildo on November 3, 2005 5:21 PM (e)

If they could also threaten to financially ruin the school board members by holding them personally liable, the threat alone could cow the school board into allowing intelligent design into the classroom.

A very good point. On the UK system, personal liability only comes in for exceeding vires or misfeasance; however, I suppose it might be possible to make a case for “misfeasance” if a board member declared publically that their opposition to ID was entirely due to their atheism, rather than any more rational reason, so the risk might be there. :)

More seriously, another advantage of the UK system is that education, and local government in general, is far more centralized, and therefore has much more capital to play with. An English Local Education Authority, although it might experience some short-term problems, would never be in danger of being bankrupted, or even having its budget drastically altered, by a $1M lawsuit.

I’m sure, though, that the American system has many advantages of its own. Thanks again for increasing my knowledge of this area of the legal world. :)

Comment #55043

Posted by morbius on November 3, 2005 5:31 PM (e)

A disinterested observer might make the point that the US definiton of “legislature” seems to be set a little too wide on looking at this case

Au contraire, referring to local lawmakers as “the executive” contradicts the definitions of the terms.

Comment #55052

Posted by Tevildo on November 3, 2005 5:57 PM (e)

Au contraire, referring to local lawmakers as “the executive” contradicts the definitions of the terms.

Not wishing to go into excessive detail about the UK constitution, I’ll just saý that, to me personally, deciding policy for the administration of a high school doesn’t sound like “lawmaking”. I accept, though, that once any part of local government is considered to be part of the legislature, drawing a hard and fast line between its legislative and executive functions may be impossible, and is likely to lead to injustice.

Comment #55056

Posted by Mona on November 3, 2005 6:08 PM (e)

Inbetween things at the office today, I read the Buckingham transcript. He has been prepped to insist that all of contact with Seth Cooper and DI occurred in the context of receiving legal advice; clearly, he was so prepped because that places everything Cooper said within the atty-client privilege, and so Buckingham cannot be compelled to testify as to what transpired in those conversations.

That also moves Cooper and the DI closer to liability for anything Buckingham subsequently did in conformity with that advice. This really could get very interesting, if the DASD ends up saddled with in excess of $1 million in atty fees and costs, and they wish to be indemnified for that burden by any whose legal advice they might wish to argue resulted in it.

Comment #55061

Posted by morbius on November 3, 2005 6:18 PM (e)

The original statement was (emphasis added) “absolute immunity is reserved for people like judges, prosecutors and legislators, which includes people on quasi-legislative entities like school boards.” Legislators decide policy which is carried out by others, much like school board members. I think the real confusion comes from the fact that executives, being the wielders of power, tend to usurp policymaking functions, and thus the U.S. is now largely governed by “executive orders”.

Comment #55067

Posted by Tevildo on November 3, 2005 6:50 PM (e)

I see where confusion may have arisen - I’m afraid I will need to go into a little detail about the UK constitution, in which both setting and implementing policy are considered to be executive functions, performed by the Government rather than Parliament. The law provides the framework within which the executive can operate; the function of the legislature is to alter the law, to change the limits of executive power, rather than to change its goals.

Because of the relation between the UK legislature and executive, the actions of the legislature will be dictated by (executive-set) policy; the democratic process and constitutional precedent prevent (in theory) the resultant changes in the power of the executive from approaching too close to tyranny; and, if they fail, the mob takes to the streets to influence the executive in a more direct fashion. :)

The crucial issue, though, is that all policy-related aspects of government are considered executive in nature - the legislative immunity from personal suit applies to none of them.

Comment #55083

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 3, 2005 7:54 PM (e)

Rev Dr Lenny Flank - the point I was trying to make was “Why should the plaintiffs’ kids suffer?”

Because their school district is run by idiots who didn’t give a flying fig about their education.

The alternative is to let the idiots off the hook “for the kid’s sake”.

And that will only lead to more idiots.

And more uneducated kids.

Comment #55084

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 3, 2005 8:02 PM (e)

remember it was the plaintiffs that filed the lawsuit

Remember whose fault it was that they HAD to.

who will set forward to be a plaintiff if the outcome is “as utterly painful as possible”

Someone who wants stupid people to stop doing illegal things.

We don’t let cops tear up speeding tickets because the speeder can’t afford it. When speeders get tickets, it’s THEIR OWN FAULT. No one else’s. When Dover’s board bankrupts the district with their religious crusade, it is THEIR OWN FAULT. No one else’s.

They deserve all the consequences. They BEGGED for them. They ignored all the advice to the contrary. They wanted to be martyrs. They succeeded. I hope they enjoy their martyrdom. (shrug)

BTW, I thought I was clear that I was referring to making it as painful as possible FOR THE SCHOOL BOARD. The whole mess is, after all, entirely and solely their own fault.

Comment #55105

Posted by Gary Hurd on November 3, 2005 10:19 PM (e)

That also moves Cooper and the DI closer to liability for anything Buckingham subsequently did in conformity with that advice. This really could get very interesting, if the DASD ends up saddled with in excess of $1 million in atty fees and costs, and they wish to be indemnified for that burden by any whose legal advice they might wish to argue resulted in it.

It was also clear from Buckingham’s trestimony that he spoke to Cooper as an agent of the School Board. So, would a school board suit aginst the DI eliminate the “privilege.”

Comment #55106

Posted by Dean Morrison on November 3, 2005 10:29 PM (e)

Two posts in a row row I bet you think it’s sweet you clever boy (Hi ‘Dr Rev’ .. do you like Radiohead?)

no…seriously… answer the question?

IF you were were a plaintiff?

would YOU? be prepared to sacrifice your kids for a principle?

.. I don’t think we need you on our side…?

Comment #55108

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 3, 2005 10:39 PM (e)

would YOU? be prepared to sacrifice your kids for a principle?

Um, no one’s kids are being sacrified for anything. (shrug)

As noted before, even the most broke and destitute of schools MUST meet the state education standards.

Comment #55109

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 3, 2005 10:47 PM (e)

Hi ‘Dr Rev’ .. do you like Radiohead?

More of a Metallica and Megadeth kind of guy. :>

Comment #55110

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 3, 2005 10:51 PM (e)

That also moves Cooper and the DI closer to liability for anything Buckingham subsequently did in conformity with that advice. This really could get very interesting, if the DASD ends up saddled with in excess of $1 million in atty fees and costs, and they wish to be indemnified for that burden by any whose legal advice they might wish to argue resulted in it.

Interesting.

What about the fact that it was the Board’s own (eventual) TMLC lawyer (Thompson) who first suggested to the board they they introduce the ID textbook “Pandas” that resulted in the entire case. What does that do about TMLC’s responsibility or liability in the whole affair?

Comment #55111

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 3, 2005 10:57 PM (e)

The IDists will certainly try to spin the massive attorney’s fees they have to pay to the ACLU, however, the ACLU lawyers have to be paid somehow, and it might help make the next schoolboard to consider teaching intelligent design think long and hard about how they are about to financially ruin their school district.

Exactly. That is precisely why the Dover School Board should be hurt as much as possible. Consider it a lesson for everyone else out there in Kansas and Indianapolis and Florida and etc etc etc.

Comment #55112

Posted by Dean Morrison on November 3, 2005 11:03 PM (e)

Dr Rev,

if?…
you had kids???

would your first instinct be to put them in the front line?
(sounds like a neo-Darwinesque, E.O Wilson type, non-squeiture to me)….
[trans for real people] … Rev Lenny needs to chill - it goes without saying that no-one is ever (i.e plaintiff) going to do this again if all it results in is a world of shite for their kids?

Comment #55113

Posted by Dean Morrison on November 3, 2005 11:20 PM (e)

So whats the point in having a local school board? -if you can always aspire to being broke and destitute… then…???

Um, no one’s kids are being sacrified for anything. (shrug)

As noted before, even the most broke and destitute of schools MUST meet the state education standards.

FIGHT ID..! IF THE WORST HAPPENS YOU CAN BE ALWAYS BE BROKE AND DESTITUTE!
- seriously Dr Rev?
put forward a good arguement to the parents of the next lot of kids that have to suffer this… ( perhaps along the lines of….)
“Well, if I was you…..”

Comment #55168

Posted by Mona on November 4, 2005 9:32 AM (e)

It was also clear from Buckingham’s trestimony that he spoke to Cooper as an agent of the School Board. So, would a school board suit aginst the DI eliminate the “privilege.

Yup. In order for a client to sue his lawyer, he has to reveal what was said that constitutes negligent advice. The lawyer, in turn, has to be able to reveal his version of what was said to defend himself.

If DI told DASD ID had nothing to do with religion, that’s cool. Imagine being able to put a bunch of ‘em on the stand to explain the Wedge and other documents, in light of any such representations they might have made? It wouldn’t be like Dembski’s web site, where unpleasant questions can be deleted.

As for the TMLC, I certainly wonder what they told the DASD (or didn’t tell them) about the possibility of atty fees and costs if they lost any litigation. How did TMLC induce confidence that it was safe to employ them, as opposed to counsel from their insurance company?

Comment #55237

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on November 4, 2005 4:37 PM (e)

Yup. In order for a client to sue his lawyer, he has to reveal what was said that constitutes negligent advice. The lawyer, in turn, has to be able to reveal his version of what was said to defend himself.

In the current case, who would believe Buckingham and Bonsell’s version of the dialogue? We’ve got a whole collection of people here who have undeniably perjured themselves.

TMLC promised the DASD a “first class defense”, free of charge. DASD was notified by their own attourney that they would be liable for plaintiff’s fees if they lost

Comment #55238

Posted by Tevildo on November 4, 2005 4:51 PM (e)

I don’t really think that the TMLC lawyers have put up that bad a performance in court - they just don’t have _anything_ to work with.

On the other hand, if it was TMLC who said to the board “Just deny that anyone ever said the word ‘creationism’, and you’ll be fine”, which appears to be what has happened, then, yes, they’re negligent.

Comment #55243

Posted by JS on November 4, 2005 5:35 PM (e)

They are negligent in not advising the BoE to plead guilty. At least they ought to be, though I must confess that I don’t know the law of the matter. The costs they are likely to be saddled with would be far, far lower if they’d just rolled over…

Let’s hope the DI get settled with the atty fees. There’s a bottom to every barrel, even one the size of the DI. And it would hurt them to be mixed up in something like that.

I don’t believe that the DASD needs to crash and burn. Even if the BoE escapes the $1M check, they - and everyone else who isn’t terminally stupid - should still get the point. And hitting the DI is eminently worthwhile in and of itself. If they are saddled with the cost - of even a significant percentage of it - it should provide them with a powerful, ah, incentive to keep their noses out of similar cases.

- JS

Comment #55365

Posted by Gary Hurd on November 5, 2005 3:28 PM (e)

Well, when I was a PI (private not principal) case conferences focused on who had the money. (As opposed to case comferences when I taught medicine). TMC and DI are both well heeled (being a bunch of heels). That would be all the “law” that many lawyers would need to start. In this case, I think we have much more.

The DI did post their version of events that was such a pathetic “it is not our fault” whine, that I am sure that they think they lost in the Panda Trail. The TMC is claiming victory, so I think they know they lost too.

Comment #55373

Posted by DennesL on November 5, 2005 5:59 PM (e)

Dean Morrison: I do not know if you have much actual experience as a parent trying to raise kids in a religious school district. I do.

I assure you, there are plenty of parents out there who are willing to put their kids’ needs above school board financial problems. There are plenty of parents who think that a nontoxic learning environment is more important than money.

I have faced the question myself - and y’know not once did it occur to me to not fight for my kids’ rights based on concerns that it might cause hardship to the school board or the neighborhood.

In my case, I thought about whether the case was strong or weak. I thought about whether it was really important or whether I was just making a mt of a molehill. I thought about what would happen to my kids - how much abuse & harrassment they’d get, and whether I think they’re able to handle it. I thought about whether the world would IMO be a better place if I filed the suit. I thought about the costs of filing the suit, and the costs of not filing the suit.

However, when I calculated the costs, I didn’t even bother with the question of whether innocent kids would be deprived school services or benefits as a result of my actions. Why? Well, mostly because I think the education the kids WOULD get from such a lawsuit - that the law of the land must be obeyed whether you happen to agree with it or not - would be far more valuable to the kids in the long run than any temporary financial hardship. Also because there are people who are responsible for guarding the school’s financial resources, and I don’t happen to be one of those people. That’s their job.

Socking it to the Dover school board would save more money, and hurt fewer children, in the long run. Protecting people from the consequences of their actions equals encouraging the behavior.

-D

Comment #55538

Posted by Dean Morrison on November 7, 2005 3:32 PM (e)

Hi DennesL,

I’m actually in Britain where we don’t have constitutional separation of church and state - although it doesn’t stop the majority of us from being sceptical about both.
I commend your courage in facing up to the religious bigots who want to impose their views on every one - I’d like to think I’d do the same. The purpose of my comments was not to advocate compromise with the principle of standing up to these people - rather it was to sympathise with people like the plaintiffs and yourself who actually have; this at a time when it seemed to me some people were in danger of crowing about ‘winning’ the case.
It seems to me that ‘success’ would be somewhat qualified if damage was done to the education of the children of the people who brought the case in the first place. Locally elected politicians in the UK would not be able to so easily escape the consequences of their actions. The only hope of redress in the US seems to be if the Dover board decide to sue their lawyers or the DI. If the C.A.R.E’s candidates get elected tomorrow how does this affect the chances of this happening?
I was thinking of suggesting that the readers of ‘Panda’s thumb’ could show their gratitude to the Plaintiffs by having a collection? - to buy some textbooks perhaps? Or perhaps as a magnanimous gesture the ACLU lawyers could waive their fees and not seek punitive damages from the board. This would show who really cares about education, and would mean that at least the plaintiff’s kid’s don’t pay the price.
I’m unemployed at the moment, but I’m willing to cough up a fiver(sterling) if necessary - it’s been worth it for the entertainment value alone….

Comment #55617

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 7, 2005 7:33 PM (e)

I was thinking of suggesting that the readers of ‘Panda’s thumb’ could show their gratitude to the Plaintiffs by having a collection? - to buy some textbooks perhaps?

The Dover high school library already has a world-class science section:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/dover.html

;>