Understanding Evolution lawsuit over
On March 23, 2009, the Supreme Court denied certiorari without comment to Caldwell v. Caldwell, which challenged the constitutionality of the Understanding Evolution website — a joint project of the University of California Museum of Paleontology and the National Center for Science Education. The San Francisco Chronicle (March 23, 2009) reports, "One page on Cal's 840-page 'Understanding Evolution' web site says Darwinism can be compatible with religion. The four-year-old suit by Jeanne Caldwell said the government-funded web site contradicts her religious belief about the incompatibility of religion and Darwinism and amounts to a state position on religious doctrine that violates the Constitutional separation of church and state."
Caldwell filed suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in 2005. But her suit was dismissed in 2006 because she failed to allege that she had federal taxpayer standing, failed to sufficiently allege state taxpayer standing, and failed to establish that she suffered a concrete "injury in fact." When she appealed the decision, the appellate court's decision concluded, "Accordingly, we believe there is too slight a connection between Caldwell’s generalized grievance, and the government conduct about which she complains, to sustain her standing to proceed." Reacting to the Supreme Court's decision not to hear the case, a lawyer for the University of California told the Chronicle, "We believe the lower court rulings were correct, and we're glad this ends the matter."
Jeanne Caldwell was represented by Kevin T. Snider of the Pacific Justice Institute and her husband Larry Caldwell. It was a further legal defeat for Larry Caldwell, who previously sued his local school district, alleging that his civil rights were violated, after it declined to implement his proposals for evolution education; on September 7, 2007, the defendants won a motion for summary judgment. Understanding Evolution, meanwhile, has been such a success in providing information about evolution to teachers, students, and the general public that the University of California Museum of Paleontology proceeded to develop a similar but broader resource, Understanding Science, which launched in 2009, just in time for the Year of Science.