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  Topic: Judge made errors of law and science, DOVER ID CASE< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Jason Spaceman



Posts: 163
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 09 2006,13:04   

Quote
JOHN P.KRILL, JR. and ANTHONY R.HOLTZMAN

Apr 9, 2006 In a recent speech, the federal judge in the Dover Area School District intelligent design case defended the correctness of his decision banning the teaching of ID in biology classes. The Honorable John E. Jones III said that "to have ruled in favor of the school board in this case based on the facts that I had before me at the conclusion of the trial, I would have had to overlook precedents entirely and, thus, impress upon the facts of the case my sense or the sense of the public concerning what the law should be - and not what it is."

Judge Jones properly rejected the notion that a judge should not decide cases based on partisan politics, opinion polls, or anything other than the facts and the law. He is on shaky ground, though, in defending the correctness of his decision. In our view, Judge Jones made at least two significant errors that would likely have caused his ruling to be overturned, if the issues had been appealed. Although the Dover school board did not appeal, Judge Jones is now appealing to the court of public opinion. An opposing argument should therefore be heard.

The Dover ID policy was facially neutral toward religion. It did not overtly promote the belief that a divine intelligence created life, nor did it reject the Darwinian view. Instead, it offered alternatives for study. Nevertheless, Judge Jones concluded that the ID policy violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. He reached this conclusion primarily by considering the purpose of the ID policy.

Judge Jones' consideration of purpose was not inappropriate in and of itself. A judge is required to consider the purpose of an official policy when seeking to determine whether it violates the establishment clause. However, Judge Jones inappropriately extracted the purpose of the ID policy from the personal motives of certain individual members of the Dover school board rather than from other sources, such as the plain words of the policy. These board members might have voted for the ID policy because it was consistent with their religious beliefs. This is irrelevant to whether the policy was constitutional.


Read it here.

   
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4807
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 09 2006,13:32   

This is the Scalia dissent in Edwards writ large, nothing more.

The critics are wrong to think that if "purpose" were set aside, the policy would pass muster. The ID policy failed the "effect" analysis, too, and in establishment cases it is one strike and you're out.

Endorsement test - Failed.
Lemon test, purpose prong - Failed.
Lemon test, effect prong - Failed.
Pennsylvania state constitution test - Failed.

I count four strikes.

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"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 09 2006,13:32   

Quote
Read it here


why?

nothing new has been stated, and the bit you posted is factually incorrect.

why is it worth the bother?

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4807
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 09 2006,13:34   

Oh, by the way, constitutional law scholar Stephen Gey of FSU stated that even given the new composition of the SCOTUS, the Kitzmiller case would very likely have been upheld if it had eventually been appealed to that body.

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"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
W. Kevin Vicklund



Posts: 68
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 10 2006,02:02   

Also, the endorsement test is conjunctive of purpose and effect - both must be considered together and not separately.  The 3rd Circuit has precedent that the endorsement be considered first.  Therefore, purpose and effect were inextricably entwined for the majority of the opinion (pages 15-89 at a minimum) - Judge Jones's ruling did not and could not reach his ruling primarily on the purpose of the individuals.

Another related point: the endorsement test evaluates perceived purpose and effect, whereas the Lemon tests evaluate actual purpose and actual effect.  The difference is subtle, but conceivably could cause one test to rule in favor of a hypothetical plaintiff, while the other ruled in favor of the hypothetical defendant.  This is why the 3rd Circuit set precedent to evaluate both tests (to the best of my knowledge).

  
thordaddy



Posts: 486
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2006,20:27   

Wesley,

Are you in the habit of taking one man's opinion as gospel?

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 11 2006,20:37   

stunning commentary there, sugardaddy, simply stunning.

  
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