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Oral arguments in the appeal in Selman v. Cobb County were heard by a three-judge panel in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia, on December 15, 2005. At issue is a decision issued by a lower court in January 2005, holding that the policy requiring evolution warning labels to be affixed to the biology textbooks used in Cobb County's public schools violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
Three news stories published on December 11, two in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and one in the Washington Post, highlight the case Selman et al v. Cobb County School District and Board of Education. The appeal in the lawsuit over anti-evolution warning labels formerly required in science textbooks in Cobb County, Georgia is on the docket for the United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit for December 15.
NATIONAL CENTER FOR SCIENCE EDUCATION
SUBMITS AMICUS BRIEF IN FEDERAL COURT
OPPOSING EVOLUTION DISCLAIMERS IN COBB COUNTY, GEORGIA, TEXTBOOKS
Jeffrey Selman, the lead plaintiff in Selman et al. v. Cobb County School District et al., and Michael Manely, the Marietta, Georgia, lawyer who was the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the case, received the Mary Beth Tinker Award in Washington, D.C., on May 18, 2005.
When Judge Clarence Cooper ruled that the evolution disclaimers in the Cobb County School District's textbooks were unconstitutional, he also ordered the stickers to be removed. Because of the time needed, he subsequently allowed the removal to be scheduled for the summer of 2005. Nevertheless, the Cobb County School District asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the order, pending its decision on the district's appeal of Selman. On May 3, 2005, a three-judge panel denied the Cobb County School District's request.
House Bill 179, introduced in the Georgia House of Representatives on January 27, 2005, would require "Whenever any theory of the origin of human beings or other living things is included in a course of study offered by a local unit of administration, factual scientific evidence supporting or consistent with evolution theory and factual scientific evidence inconsistent with or not supporting the theory shall be included in the course of study." NCSE's executive director Eugenie C.
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.
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."
"[T]he Sticker adopted by the Cobb County Board of Education violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment," declared U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper, in a forty-four-page ruling issued on January 13, 2005. Cooper's ruling requires the Cobb County School District to remove the disclaimers immediately and not to disseminate them again in any form. NCSE Executive Director Eugenie C. Scott commented, "This is another win for good science and good science education.