COPE appeals to the Supreme Court

09.21.2016

COPE et al. v. Kansas State Board of Education et al,  the creationist lawsuit seeking to reverse Kansas's 2013 decision to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards on the grounds that the state thereby "establish[ed] and endorse[d] a non-theistic religious worldview," is now under appeal to the Supreme Court.

As NCSE previously reported, in December 2014 a district court dismissed the case, finding that the plaintiffs lacked standing to assert any of their claims; in April 2016 the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court's dismissal. In May 2016, the plaintiffs unsuccessfully asked the appeals court to review the case en banc.

Subsequently, in August 2016, COPE asked (PDF) the Supreme Court to review the appeals court's decision and to address the question "Do theistic parents and children have standing to complain if the goal of the state is to cause their children to embrace a 'nontheistic religious worldview that is materialistic/atheistic'?"

The lead plaintiff, COPE, Citizens for Objective Public Education, is a relatively new creationist organization, founded in 2012, but its leaders and attorneys include people familiar from previous attacks on evolution education across the country, such as John H. Calvert of the Intelligent Design Network.

The Next Generation Science Standards have so far been adopted in eighteen states and the District of Columbia, with similar standards adopted in a number of further states. The treatment of evolution and climate science in these standards occasionally provokes controversy, but COPE v. Kansas is the only lawsuit to have resulted.