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A trio of op-ed columns greeted the January 13, 2005, ruling in Selman et al. v. Cobb County School District et al., in which U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper deemed that the evolution disclaimer required in the Cobb County School District violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Although the board decided (on January 17) to appeal the decision to the 11th U.S. District Court of Appeals, the discussions in these columns are still worthwhile and timely. And a humor column in Scientific American looks on the lighter side.
Astute analyses of anti-evolutionist tactics appeared in editorials in The New York Times on January 23 and the Washington Post on January 24.
The eminent scholar Roland Mushat Frye died on January 20, 2005, at the age of 83, in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1922, Frye earned three degrees, including his Ph.D., from Princeton University. He served in the United States Army during World War II and was awarded the Bronze Star. After the war, he taught at Emory University and was a research professor in residence at the Folger Shakespeare Library before settling at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the Felix E. Schelling Professor of English Literature until retiring in 1983.
On January 17, 2005, the Cobb County School Board voted 5-2 to appeal the ruling in Selman et al. v. Cobb County School District et al., which ordered the removal of evolution disclaimers from the school district's textbooks. Announcing the decision, Kathie Johnstone, chair of the board, described Judge Clarence Cooper's ruling as an "unnecessary judicial intrusion into local control of schools."