You all know about the soon-to-be-tried case filed by David Coppedge, a creationist, who claims he was wrongfully demoted (and later fired) by his employer because he was promoting Intelligent Design (ID) on the job. He used to work (until he was let go in a downsizing back in January) as a computer technician for Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He also maintains a creationist website: Creation-Evolution Headlines [which was recently moved here].
Our last update on the case was David Coppedge v. JPL & Caltech (27 Oct ’11). That post has background information on the case, which most of you can skip. In that post we reminded you that:
[B]oth sides had filed motions for Summary Judgment, each accompanied by an extensive Statement of Facts and a supporting Legal Memorandum. Essentially, such motions claim that there are no material facts in dispute so there’s no need for a trial, and the court should rule for the moving party as a matter of law. One of those motions for Summary Judgment had been set for 26 October — that’s yesterday. The trial had been set to start on 19 October 2011, but that’s now changed to 14 December. Bear in mind that this will be a jury trial, which is inherently unpredictable.
The news in our last update was this:
There’s been a “TENTATIVE RULING” on the 26 October motion for Summary Judgement, but we don’t know what the order says. … Until we see the pleadings, we won’t know what’s going on, but something obviously happened yesterday.
We still haven’t seen the judge’s ruling, so we’re writing this in the dark, but the case is still set for trial on 14 December, and no more hearings are scheduled on either party’s Motion for Summary Judgment, so it’s obvious that neither side won its motion. That is, what Coppedge’s supporters had been touting as a sure thing wasn’t quite enough of a sure thing. There were unresolved factual issues, so the judge couldn’t rule for him. Nor did the judge rule that JPL’s defense case was a slam-dunk. So this mess is going to trial.
But now there’s a very peculiar post at the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
The Discoveroids’ post is Judge Sends NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab to Jury Trial for Firing Employee Who Discussed Intelligent Design. There’s no indication of an author, but we suspect it’s Casey. It appears that he’s been working closely with Coppedge’s lawyer.
The Discoveroids’ post is a wildly one-sided account of the latest proceedings, as you can see from the opening paragraph:
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled Friday that a jury will decide whether NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) unlawfully discriminated against a former employee for discussing the scientific theory of intelligent design (ID) at work.
It goes on and on, reciting their untested legal theory that a creationist has a right to run wildly through the halls of his place of employment harassing everyone in sight about the wonders of creationism, and if the company reprimands him, counsels him, and eventually demotes him, the company has committed an horrendous act of “viewpoint discrimination.”
Well, that’s a slightly exaggerated description the general idea behind the lawsuit. We assume that Coppedge was a bit more restrained than “running wildly through the halls,” but he did approach a lot of people about his “science,” and there were numerous complaints about him.
The Discoveroids make no mention of the fact that Coppedge lost his Motion for Summary Judgment, but we think it’s obvious that he did. Anyway, the Discoveroids are already treating this as a great victory.
It’s possible that Coppedge could win in court. Jury trials are always risky. Or JPL could pay Coppedge some money to drop the case and go away. We think that’s likely, considering the uncertainty of a jury trial. If that happens, the Discoveroids will claim they’ve won a great legal victory, when all that really happened is that a creationist got paid to stop being a nuisance.
Anyway, that’s the latest. Don’t be misled by the Discoveroids’ post. It’s just a wee bit slanted.
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