The new batch of pleadings we told you about (see Meanwhile, in the David Coppedge Case …) has now been posted at the archive maintained by our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), located here: NCSE’s Coppedge archive.
As you know, this is the tail-end of the suit 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.
The eight new pleadings from Coppedge are really only two pleadings, because the first one is in seven parts. It begins here: Plaintiff’s Objection to JPL’s Proposed Statement of Decision, 1. That’s a 35-page pdf file. It begins like this:
Pursuant to [a court rule and a procedure rule] Plaintiff David Coppedge (“Coppedge”) hereby submits its Objections to Defendant’s Proposed Statement of Decision, identifying the paragraph number of each section as to which objection is made, the proposed finding of fact or conclusion of law and evidence upon which Defendant relies and Plaintiff’s objection, specifying that the proposed finding of fact or conclusion of law proposed by Defendant fails to resolve a controverted issue by either omitting relevant and material evidence or because of ambiguity.
The remainder of this pleading, and from our hasty preview, all seven pleadings of which this is part 1, appear to be a point-by-point, witness-by-witness re-argument of the entire trial. Looking at Part 1, all of the remaining pages are a series of objections to each paragraph of JPL’s proposed order, starting with paragraph 7. We assume the first six paragraphs are okay because they identify the parties, the court’s jurisdiction, and other non-disputed matters.
Paragraph 7 of the proposed order merely states (with transcript references) that Coppedge had originally been promoted to “Team Lead” primarily because of his longevity on the job. Coppedge’s objection to that — to that! — goes on for pages, detailing his splendid skills, his trustworthiness, etc. Verily, a man for all seasons!
Moving on to paragraph 8, that part of the proposed order says that the team lead role was an unofficial position and involved a limited set of administrative tasks. Coppedge’s objections to that paragraph start on page 5 and continue through page 12. This is really amazing! He says that being a team lead was a post of “significant importance.” Furthermore:
Being stripped of the title of Team Lead in the celebrated Cassini space exploration project was a humiliation far more substantial than it might be in a private company away from public view.
This is very exciting stuff, but seriously, dear reader, although we’re devoted to reporting about this case, we don’t intend to slog through this whole mess. However, we’ll stick with it a while and scan a bit more.
Starting on page 15, paragraph 11 of the proposed order mentions that Coppedge approached Margaret Weisenfelder about Proposition 8 (the California referendum on gay marriage) “in a manner that made her feel uncomfortable and judged.” Coppedge objects to that because he says her reaction was to the content of his message, not his manner, and of course the content is protected speech for which he shouldn’t be punished. Incredibly, the objection to that paragraph goes on for five pages.
Are you getting the impression that Coppedge is merely re-arguing the whole trial, all over again? That’s our impression. But what’s the point? The judge already sat through everything, and he’s said how he’s going to rule. It seems rather futile to go through it all over again. Surely the court rules weren’t intended to allow for this. We can understand (to use a hypothetical example) that in a patent dispute, if the losing party is described in the proposed order as a “base-born scoundrel,” an objection might be appropriate — but here we’re seeing objections that the court wasn’t persuaded by Coppedge’s evidence. This can’t be the way the rules were intended to be used.
Okay, we’re continuing. On page 22 it discusses paragraph 12 of the proposed order, which says that Coppedge gave Weisenfelder an intelligent design DVD. She testified that the content didn’t bother her, but what did bother her was a post-it note on the DVD that listed other employees — with the words “Try again.” She said that “made her uncomfortable because it showed Coppedge’s persistence.” Coppedge objects to that paragraph. He claims the evidence shows the contents did bother her because she felt it was religious and inappropriate. The objection goes on for several pages, claiming that the evidence shows Coppedge was always polite, but the objections were to religious and political matters. (And of course, nothing should interfere with his freedom to promote those views at work.)
That’s enough for Part 1. Part 2 is just a cover sheet for the 83 pages of Part 3. Those 83 pages nit-pick the proposed order’s statements about witnesses Weisenfelder, Vetter, and Edington. This is about Coppedge’s desire to rename the Holiday Party as the “Christmas Party,” discussions about Proposition 8, and more peddling of his creationist DVDs. That’s it for Part 3.
Part 4 is 54 pages long. This is about the written warning that had been given to Coppedge. Coppedge’s objection is that his behavior was not objectionable. JPL’s gripe was about the message, not the messenger. Then it discusses Coppedge’s administrative objection to the warning he had been given, and his removal as team lead. Then (on page 16) it gets to the 30% layoff required by the NASA funding cutback. Coppedge says his layoff was all about religious discrimination, not his skills.
That’s enough! We’re stopping. We’ve already been through this stuff while the trial was in session, and we’re not going to deal with it again. The court heard the testimony and Coppedge didn’t prove his case. In our humble opinion, it’s too late to win now by trying to re-write the court’s final decision document so that everything is in his favor.
If we can muster up the energy, we’ll wade through the remaining pleadings in this latest Ark-load during the next day or two. If we don’t, you’re probably not missing anything.
Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.