Dozens of reporters from across the state, the nation, and the globe squeezed into a conference room at Pepper Hamilton's Harrisburg office as the plaintiffs and legal team basked in the glow of their victory in the Dover intelligent design case, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District et al.
"The real heroes in this story are the plaintiffs," said Vic Walczak, ACLU-PA legal director. "They live in this community. They stood up to the schoolboard.
"They are very, very courageous individuals."
It was clear that the legal team feels that Judge Jones' decision is a best-case scenario.
"This opinion is a complete victory," said Eric Rothschild of Pepper Hamilton.
"We hope that school districts considering intelligent design will read Judge Jones' decision," Vic said, "and give pause."
Vic also talked about the negative impact of the situation on the community and noted the role of religion in government.
"The name calling, the tension, and the strife is as disturbing as it is predictable," he said and then mentioned that plaintiff Brian Rehm, a Bible school teacher, was called "an atheist bleep."
"Dover is exhibit A for what happens when government injects itself into religion."
Judge Jones clearly made it onto a lot of people's Christmas card list. (I might even send him a fruitcake.)
"Thank you, Judge Jones," said Tammy Kitzmiller, the plaintiff whose name graces the case's title. "You know our role as parents."
Tammy also expressed her appreciation to the legal team of attorneys from Pepper Hamilton, ACLU-PA, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
"Thank you for taking on this important issue," she said. "You are the A-Team, and we're glad you're on our side."
Eric commented specifically on Jones' 139 page opinion.
"He expressed his astonishment about the drafts of Of Pandas and People
." In her expert testimony, Dr. Barbara Forrest of Southeastern Louisiana University
pointed out that early drafts of the ID textbook used forms of the word "creation" until the Edwards v. Aguillard
decision outlawed creation science in 1987 and that later drafts simply substituted "creation" with "design".
"The emperor of intelligent design had no clothes," Eric said. "The assertions of intelligent design have no evidence."
Pepper litigator Steve Harvey also praised the decision, saying, "This decision is pro-child, pro-evolution, pro-science, and pro-education."
Both Eric and Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education
, expect creationism/creation science/intelligent design to trudge on.
"We expect a change to another label," Eric said and noted that some possibilities are "abrupt emergence" and "teach the controversy".
"We are going to see the continuing evolution of intelligent design," Eugenie said.
Barrie Callhan, a plaintiff and former school board member, issued a warning to all citizens.
"Watch your school boards."Andy in H-burg