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School of Law, University of North Carolina




When Judge John E. Jones, III, a United States District Court judge appointed by President George W. Bush, ruled that the Dover school board's intelligent design (ID) policy violated the Establishment Clause, ID opponents were ecstatic. They had good reason to be. The opinion was a comprehensive and complete victory for ID opponents. The decision held that the policy was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion when viewed both from a reasonable Dover student's perspective as well as from the perspective of a reasonable adult in the Dover community. It also held that the policy was adopted for a religious purpose, therefore failing the Supreme Court's longstanding three-part Lemon test. And if finding the policy unconstitutional for at least three independent reasons was not enough, the judge also concluded that ID was not science, cast doubt on the school board's truthfulness and ethics at the trial, and declared that the policy represented "breathtaking inanity." In short, the decision was a slam dunk for ID opponents.



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