SEVERAL MONTHS ago, we wrote an article about the Caldwell Litigation Against UC Berkeley. The suit was filed against the University of California at Berkeley, which has an educational website called Understanding Evolution.
We quoted a news source (the UK’s Guardian) saying:
Anti-evolutionists claim that the site breaches the American constitution on the separation of church and state because it links to religious organisations which believe faith can be reconciled with Darwin’s theory of evolution …
The trial court dismissed Caldewll’s suit back in March of 2006. Our earlier article links to the trial court’s dismissal order. At the end of our article, we said: “No doubt we’ll be re-visiting this issue.” And that’s what we’re doing here.
Caldwell’s appeal of that 2006 dismissal has been pending since then, and it has now been decided. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ opinion (a PDF file) is here: CALDWELL v. CALDWELL.
The court’s opinion is only 14 pages long — rather terse for a First Amendment case. Actually, it ends on page 12, followed by a concurring opinion. The final paragraph of the majority opinion says:
We conclude that Caldwell’s asserted interest — informed participation as a citizen in school board meetings, debates, and elections, especially with respect to selection of instructional materials and how teachers teach the theory of evolution in biology classes in the public schools — is not sufficiently differentiated and direct to confer standing on her to challenge the University of California’s treatment of religious and anti-religious views on evolution. An interest in informed participation in public discourse is one we hold in common as citizens in a democracy. While people inside and outside the academy may (and do) take different views in the ongoing debate over whether science and religion may coexist, Caldwell’s offense is no more than an “abstract objection” to how the University’s website presents the subject. … Accordingly, we believe there is too slight a connection between Caldwell’s generalized grievance, and the government conduct about which she complains, to sustain her standing to proceed.
The link at the UC website that allegedly violated the First Amendment was apparently this: Statements from Religious Organizations. That article is at Eugenie Scott’s National Center for Science Education, which — not surprisingly — has an article today about the Caldwell litigation: Appeal of Understanding Evolution lawsuit dismissed.
That article informs us:
Jeanne Caldwell was represented by Kevin T. Snider of the Pacific Justice Institute and her husband Larry Caldwell. It was a further legal defeat for Larry Caldwell, who previously sued his local school district, alleging that his civil rights were violated, after it declined to implement his proposals for evolution education; on September 7, 2007, the defendants won a motion for summary judgment.
Presumably, except for possible post-appeal motions and maybe a petition to the US Supreme Court, the Caldwell litigation has now come to an end.