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Kitzmiller trial to begin 9/26

The trial in Kitzmiller v. Dover, the first legal challenge to the constitutionality of teaching "intelligent design" in the public schools, is scheduled to begin in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on September 26, 2005. The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, where the bench (non-jury) trial will be held, now has a website for the trial, including a docket with selected pleadings, orders, and opinions, and information for those wishing to attend the trial. NCSE also now has a section of its website that provides information on the case.

As expected, the defense's motion for a summary judgment in the case was denied; in his memorandum and order dated September 13, Judge Jones wrote, "After a careful review of the record and viewing the facts and all inferences to be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, as we must at this juncture, we hold that genuine issues of material fact exist regarding whether the challenged Policy has a secular purpose and whether the Policy's principal or primary effect advances or inhibits religion, despite Defendants' arguments to the contrary."

Richard Thompson of the Thomas More Law Center, which is representing the defendants in the case, told the York Daily Record [Link broken] that he was disappointed but not surprised at the judge's ruling. "That this very modest proposal is in fact a violation of the [First Amendment's] establishment clause is ridiculous," Thompson told the paper. His description of the offending policy as "modest" amusingly contrasts with the Thomas More Law Center's declaration, in a press release [Link broken] issued on January 18, 2005, that "a revolution in evolution is underway" in Dover.