Errors possible in evolution sticker case

December 15, 2005

Three U.S. appellate judges indicate a Georgia judge erred in ruling the placement of evolution disclaimer stickers in science books is unconstitutional.

During oral arguments Thursday in Atlanta, all members of the federal appeals court panel noted U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper made errors in determining the stickers violated the First Amendment by endorsing a religious viewpoint, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The January ruling ordered the stickers, which declared evolution "a theory, not a fact," removed from nearly 35,000 Cobb County (Ga.) middle- and high-school science textbooks.

Appellate Judge Ed Carnes said Cooper made two major mistakes. First, indicating a petition urging the school board to place the stickers in textbooks was issued prior to the board's March 2002 decision. The petition, Carnes noted, was actually given the school board six months after it made its decision.

Secondly, Carnes said, Cooper indicated one outspoken parent wrote to the board condemning the textbooks for not mentioning alternate theories, such as one involving a creator. But, said Carnes, there is no evidence in the record of such a letter.

The Journal-Constitution said a decision isn't expected until next year.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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