SOME of you may not be aware of the Christina Comer case. Our last report on it was seven months ago, here: Texas Creationism: Christina Comer Is Back! We’ll give you a bit of background:
Comer had sued the Texas Education Agency (the “TEA”) and Education Commissioner Robert Scott, alleging that she was fired merely because she forwarded an email from the National Center for Science Education’s Glenn Branch announcing a talk by NCSE board member Dr. Barbara Forrest, who was to give a lecture that was critical of teaching of intelligent design in science classes. One might say that Comer was “Expelled.”
The Houston Chronicle carries this brief article: Appeals court hears Texas creationism case . The bold added was by us:
The former director of the science program for Texas public schools asks a federal appeals court to revive a lawsuit claiming she was fired after a dispute over creationism.
A three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans heard arguments Monday in Christina Castillo Comer’s lawsuit against the head of the Texas Education Agency. A lower court dismissed her claims last year.
Comer says she was disciplined in 2007 after forwarding an e-mail about a presentation by a philosophy professor regarded as an opponent of teaching creationism in schools.
The agency says Comer violated her employer’s “neutrality” policy by airing her personal opposition to creationism. Comer claims the agency has an unwritten, unconstitutional policy of treating creationism as science.
That’s the whole story in the Chronicle. In other words, seven months after the appeal was filed, the court heard oral argument from the lawyers today. Their final decision could take some additional time. We’ll let you know.
You might contrast this with the case of David Coppedge, who actively promoted creationism at JPL, and was only demoted. Comer was fired. And unlike JPL, Comer’s employer was unquestionably an agency of the state. Her case is coming back into the news at an interesting time.
Addendum: For more a more detailed story, see this in the Washington Post: Firing over creationism e-mail leads to appeal.]
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