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Intelligent Design Decision

Tuesday, December 20, 2005  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Here is the opinion in the Pennsylvania case. (HT: How Appealing). Judge Johns, btw, is a Bush appointee.

UPDATE: I have read through the opinion, and given the judge’s explanation of his view of the “endorsement” test and the facts in the record, it is a reasonable result, just as the Ninth Circuit’s first “pledge” case was a reasonable result given the “tests” under which the judges involved said they were working. From page 31 of the opinion:

“It is notable that not one defense expert was able to explain how the supernatural action suggested by ID could be anything other than an inherently religious proposition. Accordingly, we find that ID’s religious nature would be further evident to our objective observor because it directly involves a supernatural designer.”

Judge Johns is asserting that any theistic point of view presented in public school as potentially valid is unconstitutional. This is the end point of the modern cases, and the same place where the Pledge of Allegiance case must end, unless the Supreme Court of the United States undertakes its long verdue overhaul of the tremendously confused Establishment Clause jurisprudence.

I do think the Judge’s intemperate outburst at the end of the opinion is unfortunate:

[T]his case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.

This is the language of a judge intent on communicating with the media about himself, not the litigants or scholars or other courts.

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