This is the time of year when most state legislatures have adjourned, and most state and local school boards have made whatever major decisions they’re going to make, so the opportunities for blogging about The Controversy between evolution and creationism dwindle down to the babbling of the few creationist websites we follow, or the occasional courtroom case.
As of now, the only active creationist litigation of which we’re aware is the Mark Armitage case. All the background information is in Mark Armitage Update: 21 July 2016. There are only two items from that we want to repeat here:
This is a copy of the complaint that was filed: Mark Armitage vs. Board of Trustees of the California State University, et al. (21-page pdf file). You can check the court docket here Los Angeles Superior Court to see what’s been filed. If you go there, click on “Access your case” and enter case number BC552314.
As you may recall, there was a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the defendants, which had not yet been ruled on. Summary judgment means that because there are no disputed issues of fact, the judge can decide the matter based solely on the law, so a trial isn’t necessary.
Also, a jury trial has been set for 08/22/2016 at 09:30 am, which is only 20 days from now. In our last update, after checking the court’s docket, we learned that still more pleadings had been filed, among which were an Amended Complaint filed by Armitage on 08 July, which we predicted would be dismissed, but we still don’t know its fate.
Today we have some more news. Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have just informed us that on 22 July the Defendants’ motion for summary judgment was partially granted as to a couple of counts in Armitage’s Complaint. That’s worth noticing, because when this mess goes to trial, the issues will be fewer. NCSE tells us that the court ruled for the Defendants regarding the second and fourth claims in the Complaint, which still leaves a couple of issues left to be tried. The court also granted the Defendants’ motion regarding Armitage’s claim for punitive damages, which is good news for the university. Lets look at the Complaint (linked above) to see what’s left for the trial.
The first cause of action, which wasn’t dismissed, is for discrimination against Armitage based on his religion. He claims he was wrongfully terminated because of his beliefs. Boo hoo.
The second cause of action, which was dismissed, says Armitage was wrongfully terminated in violation of some provision of California law which forbids such discrimination. Without seeing the judge’s order, we don’t know the fine points that caused count one to survive while count two was tossed out.
The third cause of action, which wasn’t dismissed, says the defendants failed to prevent discrimination against Armitage under the same California law. Again, we don’t know why that survived while count two was dismissed.
The fourth cause of action, which was dismissed, says the Defendants violated Armitage’s rights under the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which not only guarantees freedom of speech, but which (it is claimed) also guarantees academic freedom, and poor Armitage was the victim of unconstitutional “viewpoint discrimination.”
A current search of the court’s docket informs us that three more hearings are scheduled:
• 08 August: Motion to dismiss (presumably regarding Armitage’s latest attempt to amend his complaint), and also a status conference.
• 16 August: a final status conference.
• 22 August: the jury trial.
So there you are, dear reader. The next few weeks will tell the tale. Whatever happens at the trial, we’re fairly certain that the results will be appealed. We’ll be keeping you advised.
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