Re: Judge Jones sided with the Discovery Institute and ruled against the Dover school board policy.

From: Pim van Meurs <>
Date: Wed Dec 28 2005 - 17:27:21 EST

David: Finally, you need to remember that the court was not required to write the sort of opinion it did. A court can decide a case like this without writing a lengthy opinion.

I disagree, the court followed the common practice of the court and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to argue the case from both the Establishment clause perspective as well as from thr Lemon test perspective. Such an analysis makes the ruling more likely to withstand appeal as it argues the case from various perspectives.

David: Though the court does have to give reasons for its decision, it could have done so in a shorter memorandum opinion or Order. It would have been sufficient for the court to conclude in a sentence or two that the school board had a religious purpose and that its policy would have excessively entagled the government with those religious purposes.

I argue that this would not be in line with common legal practice in the 3rd Circuit.

David: Indeed, in most cases, courts don't write such careful, lengthy opinions; only a small fraction of cases that get decided result in this kind of publishable-quality opinion. Though I've never appeared before this judge and can't say for sure, it appears strongly to me that the judge wanted to make what I would call a political statement with this opinion. In my view, that was regrettable.

The judge explains the reasons for the lengthy, and in-depth analysis.

1. Looking at whether ID is science is essential in ruling on the establishment clause
2. The court is in the best position this far to address these issues
3. The DI Amicus brief argued that since ID is science, the primary effect is not religious

The judge thus was very thorough in his analysis. Did the Judge want to make a political statement or just present a thorough and well argued opinion. The Judge states the latter. One may of course always disagree as to motives but I fail to see much evidence to support the idea that the motives of Judge Jones were somehow more sinister (pardon the pun).

<quote author="Jones">The proper application of both the endorsement and Lemon tests to the facts of this case makes it abundantly clear that the Board’s ID Policy violates the
Establishment Clause. In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.</quote>

<quote author="Jones".Although ID’s failure to meet the ground rules of science is sufficient for the Court to conclude that it is not science, out of an abundance of
caution and in the exercise of completeness, we will analyze additional arguments advanced regarding the concepts of ID and science.</quote>

Received on Wed Dec 28 17:29:39 2005

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