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Appeals court rejects ruling on textbook stickerscomment (0)

June 15, 2006

ATLANTA — A federal appeals court May 25 rejected U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper’s ruling on the constitutionality of stickers serving as evolution disclaimers in the textbooks of a Georgia school district, vacating the decision based on insufficient evidence.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta returned the case to Cooper because he left “unfilled gaps in the record.” Cooper ruled that the stickers violated the separation of church and state. He said “an informed, reasonable observer” would “interpret the sticker to convey a message of endorsement of religion.”

The stickers read: “This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.”

The appeals court said the federal district court must determine whether the school board’s placement of the stickers in books was “religiously neutral.”

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