We have been aware of internet rumors that the Coppedge trial will start tomorrow, 12 March. This is the case filed by David Coppedge, the creationist who claims he was wrongfully demoted (and later fired) by his employer because he was promoting Intelligent Design (ID) on the job. As you recall, he used to work as a computer technician for Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is part of Caltech. He also maintains a creationist website: Creation-Evolution Headlines — which was recently moved here.
Our last post on this topic was Coppedge v. JPL & Caltech: Continued Again, and at that time we had no authoritative clue as to when the trial would begin. But now there’s an article at the website of Fox News with this headline: Former NASA specialist claims he was fired over intelligent design. It says, with bold font added by us:
Opening statements are expected to begin Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court after two years of legal wrangling in a case that has generated interest among supporters of intelligent design. The Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian civil rights group, and the Discovery Institute, a proponent of intelligent design, are both supporting Coppedge’s case.
The rest of the article is mostly background on the case, with the role of Coppedge in JPL’s Cassini mission a wee bit puffed up. For example:
David Coppedge, who worked as a “team lead” on the Cassini mission exploring Saturn and its many moons, alleges that he was discriminated against because he engaged his co-workers in conversations about intelligent design and handed out DVDs on the idea while at work. Coppedge lost his “team lead” title in 2009 and was let go last year after 15 years on the mission.
Jeepers — JPL couldn’t have got to Saturn without Coppedge! They also quote Josh Rosenau, from the National Center for Science Education, who says — correctly — that this should be a routine employment case. Then, for journalistic balance, they quote a well-known Discoveroid:
“It’s part of a pattern. There is basically a war on anyone who dissents from Darwin and we’ve seen that for several years,” said John West, associate director of the Center for Science and Culture at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute. “This is free speech, freedom of conscience 101.”
All things considered, it’s a fair article. But there’s nothing in it about the other internet rumor that this will no longer be a jury trial. So we’ll just have to wait to see how things go.
Oh, wait! There’s also a new 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’ article is Coppedge Trial Update: Fox News, AP, UCLA First Amendment Scholar Weigh In. They say:
Coppedge has waived his right to trial by jury and has elected to try the case before Judge Hiroshige who will decide all matters of fact and law.
On Monday morning Judge Hiroshige will hear oral argument before trial on questions of evidence, what gets in, what’s out. Later in the day, Coppedge and JPL will give their opening statements of the case. The following day, Tuesday, Coppedge takes the stand.
We usually don’t rely on anything the Discoveroids say, but in this case they’re likely to be accurate. We can’t figure out, however, why Coppedge decided to waive the jury trial.
Anyway, it looks like the fun starts tomorrow. Stay tuned to this blog.
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