Friday, May 26, 2006

Appeals Court Ruling in Selman v. Cobb County

The Appeals Court has vacated and remanded the District Court opinion that the Cobb County evolution stickers on biology books violate the US Constitution. The Washington Post AP article is here. The full opinion can be found here.

While this is not a decision on the merits, it still knocks out the lower court ruling, which had been favorable to the Darwinian fundamentalist lobby. The court also said that it could not find sufficient support for the lower court ruling in the record.

I hope to comment more later when I have had a chance to read the opinion. For now, I want to note that, even though the Appeals Court did not rule on the merits, it has taken a very different position on the matter than Judge Jones did in the Dover case. Because of this, it throws the broader significance of the Dover opinion into even greater doubt than before. Teachers and school boards would be wise not to rely on the Dover opinion, unless you happen to reside in Judge Jones judicial district.

The Evolution News blog has two posts on it here and here.

My previous posts on this case can be found here and here and here. I especially recommend the first link to the post "Rewarding Religious Prejudice."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

ACLU Banning Speech and Banning Books

The New York Times reports that the American Civil Liberties Union is proposing new standards that would gag its board members and stop them from publicly criticizing aspects of the organization:

Given the organization's longtime commitment to defending free speech, some former board members were shocked by the proposals.

Nat Hentoff, a writer and former A.C.L.U. board member, was incredulous. "You sure that didn't come out of Dick Cheney's office?" he asked.

"For the national board to consider promulgating a gag order on its members — I can't think of anything more contrary to the reason the A.C.L.U. exists," Mr. Hentoff added.

On the other hand, this new proposal is in line with its policy of suing to ban books, if the content is not to its liking, which I discussed here. Presumably the new policy would ban speech that criticizes its decision to sue to ban books.

A previous post about the ACLU and one of its fund-raising letters is here, which also has a link to a humorous cartoon. By the way, fund-raising is noted as one of the reasons for the ACLU's new policy on speech by board members. Funny how money affects policy.