WE’VE BEEN giving considerable thought to the recent plague of anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism legislation which is being promoted by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids), based on their Academic Freedom Act.
Things may look bleak, but your Curmudgeon has fashioned a remedy.
It’s too late for Louisiana, of course, which has now embraced full-blown creationism; but if this kind of bill is considered in any other state, all we need is one clear-headed legislator to introduce an amendment like this to be added to the bill. We’re obviously skipping some drafting details, but legislators have professional staff for such technical matters.
For those who may not appreciate the judicial effect of a rejected amendment, check out Statutory interpretation for a generalized treatment of the subject, and which says:
To find the meanings of statutes, judges use various tools and methods of statutory interpretation, including traditional canons of statutory interpretation, legislative history, and purpose.
A relevant illustration of the effect of a rejected amendment can be seen regarding the “No Child Left Behind” law, to which then Senator Santorum had offered an amendment requiring that the “controversy” about intelligent design should be taught along with evolution. The Senate rejected the amendment, which means that the law does not require ID to be taught, even though ID supporters subsequently slipped some favorable ID language in the committee reports. See: Santorum Amendment Stripped from Education Bill. For more discussion of that matter, see: Analysis of the “Santorum language”.
Therefore, if a legislature accepts the Curmudgeon’s Amendment, then creationism goes nowhere — indeed, there’s no reason for the creationists to bother with an “academic freedom” bill if it includes such an amendment. If the legislators reject the amendment and pass their bill anyway, thus encouraging creationism or ID to be taught, then the legislation will undoubtedly fail in the courts because now there’s a clear record of the bill’s religious intent.
In other words, this is a legislative doomsday machine — once introduced as an amendment to a creationism bill, it destroys that bill whether it’s accepted or rejected.
[The Curmudgeon humbly acknowledges your applause.]
We can’t prevent legislators from behaving like fools, but we can hope that throughout the federal judiciary we have judges who are devoted to the Constitution.
Addendum: Thanks to the suggestions of an astute observer, we deleted what had been section (2) of the Curmudgeon’s Amendment and preserved its meaning in a newly-added final “whereas” clause.
Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.