Creationist Litigation Update: Mid 2014

The few currently-pending court cases of interest to us have been remarkably absent from the news, so this update won’t be terribly informative. It’s more of a reminder that we’re still watching these items. If any of you are aware of any developments that we’ve missed, please let us know. Here’s our case-by-case summary:

Bryan College Litigation

Our last update on this topic was Bryan College Litigation Update — 18 May 2014. The suit was filed by two tenured professors, Stephen Barnett and Steven DeGeorge, who lost their jobs at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee, the site of the Scopes Trial. The college was named in honor of William Jennings Bryan.

The professors were fired because they refused to accept the college’s recent “clarification” of its statement of faith, which is now far more explicit about the special creation of Adam & Eve. The professors are suing the school to get their jobs back, and to have the “clarification” declared void, because the original statement of faith — which they accept — says it can’t be changed.

The last news was that the judge issued a temporary restraining order barring Bryan from hiring replacements for the two professors, although the college is allowed to continue advertising and interviewing for the posts. That restraining order will keep the positions unfilled until a June hearing on the matter. There’s been no news since then.

John Freshwater Case

The last news about this never-ending idiocy was posted by Richard B. Hoppe a month ago over at Panda’s Thumb — see Freshwater: Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. That’s where the matter sits, and we don’t yet know if the Supreme Court will accept the case.

John Oller Case

Our last post on the federal civil-rights lawsuit that creationist professor John Oller filed against the the University of Louisiana at Lafayette was John Oller Litigation Update — 18 Nov 2013. You can see the court’s docket here: Oller v. Roussel et al, but most of the pleadings can’t be read without a subscription. The case is still active, but it’s never in the news.

Since our last update, more pleadings have been filed, but most of it looks like routine discovery motions, exhibits and memoranda. The latest date set for the jury trial is 20 October 2014. Among the new pleadings that we can read is the court’s 05 May 2014 order denying the defendants’ motion for a continuance. It’s not worth looking at, because it’s just one page saying that the motion is denied. The last item is dated 03 June 2014. It’s a clerk’s notice setting a date for a hearing on the defendant’s motion for Summary Judgment. That hearing will be on 17 July.

Kansas NGSS Case

This is that wild case filed in the US District Court’s Topeka office to bar the implementation of the evolution-friendly Next Generation Science Standards (the “NGSS”). Our last post about it was was Kansas Creationism Case: The State Strikes Back. NCSE is tracking it here: COPE v. Kansas State BOE. A related development, which we reported in February, is that Kansas Has a Bill To Repeal the NGSS. The bill is HB 2621, but the legislature adjourned without taking any action on it, so it’s dead — until next year, of course.

The David McConaghie Bathroom Camera Affair

The expected prosecution of Northern Ireland creationist David McConaghie, who has been accused of bathroom voyeurism, is still stalled (so to speak) while the matter is being (ahem!) probed — see Creationist Voyeurism: McConaghie Update.

So there you are. It’s been an unexciting year for creationist litigation news, so far, but it’s not quite half over. The good news is that the creationists haven’t won anything. May it always be so.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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10 responses to “Creationist Litigation Update: Mid 2014

  1. docbill1351

    This just in! New report by Hoppe at the PT:

    The Mt. Vernon, Ohio, Board of Education has filed its Brief in Opposition to Freshwater’s petition for a writ of certiori with the Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS). Recall that Freshwater asked SCOTUS to overturn his firing on the ground that it violated his First Amendment rights, and that prohibiting his teaching the “scientific strengths and weaknesse of biological evolution” also violates the First Amendment. I haven’t found an online version of the Brief in Rersponse yet (the Court’s docket is here, so I’ll make a few remarks on what I found most interesting.

    More below the fold

    The Board’s response focuses on two main issues, Freshwater’s insubordination and his exposure of the Board to legal risk by teaching creationism. It also argues that Freshwater’s petition rests on disputed factual grounds rather than any Consititutional issue, and those factual grounds were hashed out in multiple lower venues–the administrative hearing, the county Court of Common Pleas, the state Court of Appeals, and the Ohio Supreme Court, and at each level were found to support Freshwater’s termination. It claims that Freshwater’s academic freedom argument is invalid. Finally, it argues, SCOTUS does not actually have jurisdiction. Freshwater’s argument rests on claims of disputed facts, not on any Constitutional issue, and is thus not in the purview of SCOTUS. That he is displeased with the various lower courts’ factual findings is not a valid reason for SCOTUS review:

    Read it all at The Panda’s Thumb

  2. Totally off topic–but it seems fitting, in light of the continuing failures of the Forces of Darkness chronicled above, to note the celebrations of the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy Landings.

    My own father (who has now declined into the fog of Alzheimers) is a WWII vet (US Navy), and I have found it poignant today to see some of the D-Day survivors, now in their 80′s and 90′s, revisiting the scenes of that decisive conflict. We owe them so much for our freedoms, and must resolve to resist the eternal forces of unreason and backwardness that forever try to deny all that is worthy in the questing human spirit. Discoveroids–this means you!

  3. Time to change the avatar to an old “blood moon” photo I took in 1997 one month before Comet Hale-Bopp was at its best.

    Along with Megalonyx’s comment about D-Day, one realizes how petty the creationists’ lawsuits are, especially Freshwater’s, when measured against what the Allied soldiers endured at Normandy 70 years ago today. (Just finished watching NBC’s Special on D-Day. Nicely done.)

  4. There was an “educational meeting” held at Seattle’s “Discovery Institute” on June 4th, sponsored by the Washington Policy Center, itself a very conservative, right-leaning organization. This was their invitation for the meeting:

    This dynamic breakfast program will feature Washington’s new charter school leaders, who will describe their plans to offer schoolchildren in the Puget Sound area the chance to attend a new charter school. Their presentations will be followed with a question and answer period. Seattle’s First Place Scholars, an elementary school for severely traumatized and homeless children, will be Washington’s first charter school to open this September. We hope you will join us to support these promising new schools and education reform in our state.

    I say ominous because Seattle’s “Discovery Institute” is a notoriously anti-science organization, which to date has yet to discover anything related to science, and is bent on replacing science with creationism, ending the “Enlightenment” as it were, in favor of religion oer their “Wedge Strategy” for undermining science education in the U.S. Creationists at the Discovery Institute must be salivating at the opportunity to insert their creationist bible beliefs into Washington’s charter schools.

    I am highly wary of the outcome of any association with this Discovery Institute as they have continuously lobbied state legislatures to implement their so-called “Intelligent Design” agenda into the public schools. Texas has seen numerous school board battles, Louisiana has implemented their recommendations, Kansas has seen horrendous battles, and other states have been deluged with their propaganda.

    When the city of Dover, PA battled these people, the creationists lost, badly. They continue to lick their wounds and press forward with their anti-science agenda, to the ultimate detriment of the educational system and science programs in particular in America.

    Is this the beginning of their efforts in the state of Washington?

  5. Pope Retiredsciguy decrees

    Time to change the avatar to an old “blood moon” photo I took in 1997

    Yet another portent of the imminent End of the World!!!

    …We are doomed! DOOMED, I say!!!

  6. RSG, very nice photo. I remember that eclipse, in particular it was very, very cold.

  7. docbill1351

    Some religious fanatics are using charter schools as a creationist fifth column. Not all, though. Some charter school organizations are genuinely exceptional, however the herd is growing and regulation is sparse.

    You may recall that Zack Kopplin publicized charter schools using openly creationist science texts and, once exposed, state boards clamped down. But, it’s going to take an extra level of regulation to ensure charter schools are following public school standards rather than doing whatever they want.

    I would be a great IRS employee. I’m immediately suspicious of any organization that has a name using “freedom,” “family,” “eagle,” or “forum.” They all begin with the letter “T” and you know what that means!

  8. Man, I’m going to have to change the name of my non-profit from “The Freedom Eagle Family Forum,” then.

  9. @Troy: Thanks! I used a Celestron C-8 scope with a 35mm film camera at prime focus. The full moon fits nicely within the 24mm x 35mm image area of the 35mm film format with that scope.

    You mentioned it was very cold when you saw that eclipse. Where were you? I took the photo in Cincinnati, but I don’t remember it being that cold there (not that it makes a difference in the grand scheme of things).

    @Megalonyx: I was going to change to this avatar back when WND was going nuts with all that “Blood Moon” omen ranting, but I didn’t get around to it ’til now. Thought I should finally do it while I still had the chance. ;-)

    @docbill: You mean like the “Family Freedom Eagle Forum”?

  10. @Mark Germano: Sorry, Mark. We were writing at the same time. Guess we both had the same thought.