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Court Case Project

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S: Epperson vs. Arkansas

BC: Citations | --"Epperson v. Arkansas." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 20 Mar. 2012. Web. 3 May 2012.. --Google. Google, 17 May 2012. Web. 17 May 2012. . --Thorndike, Jonathan L. Epperson v. Arkanssas, The Evolution-Creationism Debate. Berkeley Heights: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 1999. Print.

FC: Epperson vs. Arkansas By: Nicole Guinn and Carly Pearce

1: Table of Contents: | ~Slide 2 and 3: Background Information ~Slide 4 and 5: The Defendant ~Slide 6 and 7: Darwin's Theory ~Slide 8: Creationism vs. Evolution ~Slide 9: Scopes Trial ~Slide 10: Educational Upheaval ~Slide 11: Finding Epperson ~Slide 12: District Court Trial ~Slide 13: Judge Reed's Conclusion ~Slide 14-15: Epperson's Side ~Slide 16-17: Arkansas's Side ~Slide 18: Supreme Court Decision ~Slide 19: Aftermath/Impact of Epperson ~Slide 20: Citations

2: The plaintiff, Susan Epperson, teaches biology in Arkansas at Little Rock High School, where there is a law supporting creationalism, but not forcing anyone to accept or deny their beliefs. Before the Supreme Court Case, evolution was taught as a science and creationism was taught in a religious class until people tried to mix both religion and science in the classrooms of public schools. | Background Information:

3: Most teachers didn’t even know about the law and many just avoided talking about evolution but it was a big deal if it was just mentioned. Teachers began to think that not teaching evolution was a violation of the first amendment as well as Arkansas having a law about creationalism.

5: Susan Epperson was raised in a Presbyterian church so she did believe in God and her dad taught biology at a college and she went to a public school in Arkansas. She would lose her job if she taught the evolution theory of biology, $500 fine. Her school got a new biology textbook that did have a chapter about evolution. In her view, her job was to teach everything of biology, all branches and theories. She had the choice to violate the law or violate the her teaching contract | The Plaintiff

6: Darwin's Theory | Did God create humans (creationism) or did humans evolve from apes? (evolution) After scopes trial, many southern states copied Tennessee and passed laws that said teachers could not teach Darwins theory of evolution. Darwin said that animals evolve by natural selection or which traits have adapted to the environment the best

8: Creationism vs. Evolution: | - Other conflicts come from this like separation of church and state, freedom of speech, government having involvement in the school syllabus, and government telling teachers what to do - Creationism: the belief that God created everything (evidence can be found in the book of Genesis) - Evolution: the belief that humans evolved directly from apes and monkeys

9: The Scopes Trial | -The Scopes Trial occurred before Epperson -It convicted the teaching of evolution because it was supposedly against Tennessee law at that time

10: Educational Upheaval | -The Arkansas Education Association did not like the fact that teachers were restricted in their teaching and couldn't even mention evolution -People sent in articles to newspapers called the Gazette and Democrat concerning the views of the Arkansas law about no evolution -Other groups joined Arkansas education association like the American Association of University Women and the Central Baptist Association

11: -Secretary of AEA, Forrest Rozzel, was recommended to AEA state attorney Eugene Warren to find the school teacher, Susan Epperson, as their main plaintiff in the law suit they were trying to file against Arkansas. -Epperson eventually accepted,believing teachers should be the role models for their students. | Finding Epperson:

12: District Court Trial: | --The suit was scheduled for April 1, 1966 in the Pulaski Country Chancery Court --Arkansas State Attorney: Bruce Bennett, who wanted to be the next governor of Arkansas -Epperson's Attorney: Eugene Warren --Tons of people came into the court room and there were extra bailiffs present as well because Judge Reed didn’t want the case publicized

13: Judge Reed's Conclusion: | --Bennett asked religious related question to Epperson during the trial which Warren objected to it a total of 63 times --Judge Reed stated the anti-evolution Arkansas law unconstitutional --Bennett and Warren, however, both appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court and eventually the United States Supreme Court because Reed ruled that anti-evolution was constitutional.

14: Epperson (Prosecution) Side: U.S. Supreme Court | --Epperson still had Eugene Warren as her lawyer and had quit teaching high school biology so if it was found unconstitutional, she would still have her teaching position. --Their first claim was that having a law about creationism was a violation of the 1st amendment of the freedom of religion and a violation of the due process clause of the 14th amendment. --The main question: Should the school curriculum be based on the rules Christians create or the education officials?

15: --Warren claimed no other teacher had been found guilty of teaching evolution because they were intimidated by the prosecution law. --This law stated that teachers cannot refer to a book that has evolution in it which includes almost any encyclopedia as well as the textbook Epperson had in her classroom --Arkansas law was too broad and no constitutional, violating the 1st amendment because Epperson is unable to teach certain subjects in school. The religious clause and 14th amendment were violated as well.

16: Arkansas (Defense) Side: | --Langston (Attorney of the State) claimed that teaching the evolution theory or even just mentioning it in schools was unconstitutional; it didn't matter if the teacher agreed with what the theory taught. --His statement confused the justices because he said that teaching the theory is unconstitutional and that explaining the theory would be unconstitutional: these are two different things --A second constitutional question: How much of the government can control the curriculum of the school and until when?

17: --Langston's main defense was whether the government had the right to intervene in public school teaching and where the state should draw the line for interfering. --If the law prohibits teaching evolution but not creationism, then it values creationism over evolution which violates the 1st amendment.

18: Supreme Court Decision and Ruling: | --It was debated whether to get rid of the Arkansas law or decide if it is constitutional. --The vote was unanimous, with all justices voting that the Arkansas law about creationism and evolution was unconstitutional. --Justice Abe Fortas wrote the opinion saying that it violated the 1st and 14th amendment -- Justice Hugo L. Black wrote the concurring opinion stating that the Supreme court should not decide on something that involves academics. Instead, they should ask Arkansas to clarify their law. --There was not dissenting opinion on this case because of the unanimous vote.

19: Aftermath/Impact of Epperson vs. Arkansas: | --Now biology teachers can teach evolution without the fear of persecution and with an "open mind" --The debate of creationism vs. evolution (end of the monkey war) was put to an end --Creationism now tried to infiltrate the school curriculum in other ways so there really was going to be a never ending fight. --Arkansas didn't really have to adjust to anything new because their textbooks already had evolution in them. --the state government can now not hold one religion over another.

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  • By: Nicole G.
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  • Title: Court Case Project
  • Epperson v. Arkansas: Guinn and Pearce
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  • Published: almost 6 years ago