Law & Courts A National Roundup

Judge Reviewing Reporters’ Notes in ‘Intelligent Design’ Lawsuit

By Sean Cavanagh — July 26, 2005 1 min read
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A federal judge is reviewing notes and other documents from reporters who covered June 2004 meetings of the Dover, Pa., school board. In a policy that is now the subject of a federal lawsuit, the board later mandated that students be informed of “intelligent design” and other purported alternatives to the Darwinian theory of evolution.

U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III decided at a July 14 hearing that he would privately review the notes turned over to him by The York Dispatch and the York Daily Record to determine their relevance to the case.

The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and 11 parents from the 3,800-student Dover Area district, seeks to forbid enforcement of the policy, which critics regard as religiously based.

At various points, both sides have sought access to the notes, in an attempt to determine the extent to which board members made “overtly religious comments” during the hearing in question, said Eric Rothschild, a Harrisburg lawyer for the parents.

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