Ed Brayton posted Entry 2781 on December 19, 2006 01:19 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2771

A little birdie just called to tell me that the Cobb County evolution disclaimer case has been settled, and on very favorable terms for our side. Americans United is sending out a press release which says, in part:

In an agreement announced today, Cobb County school officials state that they will not order the placement of “any stickers, labels, stamps, inscriptions, or other warnings or disclaimers bearing language substantially similar to that used on the sticker that is the subject of this action.” School officials also agreed not to take other actions that would undermine the teaching of evolution in biology classes.

It should be noted that this happens one day before the one year anniversary of the ruling in Kitzmiller, and I don’t think that is coincidental here. When the appeals court remanded this case back to the district court, not only was the case reopened for a new trial but the judge also reopened discovery and decided to allow expert witnesses to testify. I strongly suspect that this was a big influence on making the defense settle the case. After watching how effectively we used expert testimony in the Dover case, they couldn’t like that prospect. It is perhaps also worth noting that this is what real lawyers do in lieu of putting out silly “studies” based on word counts.

The AU press release is here. NCSE story is here.

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Comment #151051

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on December 19, 2006 2:35 PM (e)

And Merry Kitzmas to you too, Ed!

Comment #151053

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on December 19, 2006 2:40 PM (e)

This just isn’t the best month to be an anti-evolutionist.

Comment #151055

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on December 19, 2006 2:42 PM (e)

At a website called LawFuel that lawyers probably hang out:

Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Eric Rothschild Served as Plaintiffs’ Counsel in Settlement of
Cobb County School District Anti-Evolution Sticker Dispute

Philadelphia, PA – December 19, 2006 – LAWFUEL - Legal News, Legal Jobs - Pepper Hamilton LLP has helped win another big victory for science education and religious freedom. In an agreement announced today in the long-running Selman v. Cobb County School District case, the Cobb County (Georgia) School Board has agreed to a settlement regarding its 2002 decision to place anti-evolution stickers on high-school biology textbooks.

Eric Rothschild, a partner in Pepper’s Philadelphia office, joined a team comprised of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the ACLU of Georgia and the Atlanta-based law firm of Bondurant, Mixon & Elmore to handle the case for the plaintiffs – school district parents who sued the school board arguing that the sticker policy promoted religion in science classrooms and thus violated the separation of church and state. Mr. Rothschild joined the team as part of Pepper’s pro bono program.

The case had been remanded back to the district court by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which had requested more information about the situation before ruling on the constitutionality of the policy.

The team negotiated a consent decree with Cobb County School District in which school officials agreed to the removal of all anti-evolutions stickers from biology textbooks. They also agreed that no similar warnings or disclaimers would be used in the future and not to take other actions that would undermine the teaching of evolution in biology classes.

“Cobb County School District’s decision to settle the case shows the school board’s desire to work for the best interest of their students,” said Mr. Rothschild. “It was the right move, and an admirable one.”

It only took four years, but the right result in the end.

Comment #151058

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on December 19, 2006 2:53 PM (e)

I would like to immortalize here the words uttered by our friend and DI Legal Eagle Casey Luskin after the Appeals Court vacated the first ruling:

“This decision is a victory as it throws out the problematic ruling from the trial court,” said Casey Luskin, an attorney with the Discovery Institute. “Essentially, the appellate judges found that some of the findings of the lower court were not substantiated by the evidence in the record, so now new evidentiary hearings must be held, which could completely change the trial court’s original ruling against the school district.”

“This is a major step towards a bigger victory for students, school districts, and objective science education,” added Luskin.

The Cobb County School District had placed a sticker into biology textbooks explaining that the material on evolution “should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.”

“A final ruling in this case will be at least as important, if not more important, than the Dover school district case last year,” added Luskin, a co-author of “Traipsing Into Evolution Intelligent Design and the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Decision”. “Eventually it’s likely that a decision will be handed down from this federal appellate court governing legal decisions in multiple states, whereas the Kitzmiller decision was from a trial court with no legal force outside of the parties in that local case.”


Comment #151062

Posted by David B. Benson on December 19, 2006 3:38 PM (e)

What a fine Christmas present!

To quote PvM from another matter, “Thank God.”

Comment #151069

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on December 19, 2006 3:55 PM (e)

I guess we should Cobb-le together some Merry Kitz-mas Eve posts…

Comment #151073

Posted by Coin on December 19, 2006 4:15 PM (e)

Andrea Bottaro wrote:

“This is a major step towards a bigger victory for students, school districts, and objective science education,”

And, hilariously, in the end he turned out to be right.

Comment #151086

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on December 19, 2006 5:19 PM (e)

I’m sure we will soon see the DI issue a press release about the consent decree order (posted at Cobb County’s webpage on the Selman settlement):

A spoof DI legal analyst wrote:

“After detailed analysis, we have determined that Judge Cooper copied 100% of his signed order from the proposed order submitted by the plaintiffs and defendants. Plagiarism! Darwinists…bad!”

Comment #151096

Posted by Dean Morrison on December 19, 2006 5:48 PM (e)

Congratulations to all those involved - looks like Christmas has come early again..

Comment #151111

Posted by Laser on December 19, 2006 7:43 PM (e)

Waterloo! Oh, wait…

Comment #151142

Posted by The Sanity Inspector on December 20, 2006 8:55 AM (e)

And if you click through today, you can see the hometown reportage in the Marietta Daily Journal

Comment #151276

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 21, 2006 2:42 AM (e)

And, hilariously, in the end he turned out to be right.

As usual, coin, you’re one sharp cookie.

Comment #151277

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 21, 2006 2:44 AM (e)

(In case it wasn’t clear – that was sincere, not snark.)