FC: Epperson v. Arkansas By: Krutika Parikh and Ashlee Lester
1: Table Of Contents | Background of the case........................ 2-5 The Case in Court............................... 6-9 Reaches the Supreme Court..................10-14 Aftermath......................................15- 19 Citations.........................................20-21
2: Background | The 1928 Arkansas Statue states that the theory of evolution may not be taught in public schools. | This statue was based after the "Butler Act", which resulted from the famous Scopes Trial.
3: The issue began 40 years later... | The issue arose at a high school in the area of Little Rock, Arkansas. The administration of this high school adopted a new Biology textbook in the 1965-1966 school year. This textbook had a chapter on Darwin's Theory of Evolution. The teachers at the school were instructed to teach this material.
4: Susan Epperson | She was 10th grade Biology teacher at this high school, who was caught between breaking the law by teaching from the textbook, or loosing her job for refusing to teach the evolution theory.
5: How the case got to court | Epperson teamed up with the NEA and the ACLU and filed suit in order to test the constitutionality of the Arkansas Law. She was joined in her law suit by H.H. Blanchard, a parent of a student who attended her school.
6: The Case in Court | She filled suit in the Chancery Court, which decided that the law against teaching evolution violated the 14th amendment and declared it unconstitutional. | The court stated "it tends to hinder the quest for knowledge, restrict the freedom to learn, and restrain the freedom to teach."
7: The Case in Court | In 1967 the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Chancery Court, leaving the Arkansas law against evolution in effect.
8: The Case in Court | Epperson appealed to the United States Supreme Court over the decision made by the Arkansas Supreme Court.
9: The Case in Court | Constitutional Question: Does the law which forbids the teaching of evolution in public schools, violate the rights of free speech or the establishment clause of the 1st amendment?
10: Eugene Warren presented arguments for Epperson | Don Langston, Assistant Attorney General, argued on behalf of Arkansas | Reaches the Supreme Court... | Chief Justice Warren presided over the case
11: Langston Wanted argued that states needed to have a standard curriculum; however, he avoided evolution during his argument. | Arguments | Epperson argued that the Arkansas law violated the Establishment clause of the 14th amendment. It also violated the 1st amendments, the right to freedom of speech.
12: Decision | The U.S. Supreme Court found it unconstitutional for Arkansas to forbid the teaching of evolution because then they would be protecting a certain religion. | 9 Epperson 0 against | The decision officially banned any prohibitions against evolution
13: Opinions of Justices | 7 justices believed statue violated Establishment Clause | Justice Abe Fortas stated Arkansas law interprets the Book of Genesis in a certain way that a "particular religious group" does
14: Opinions of Justices | Justice Hugo Black still voted to reverse the State Appeal Court decision; however, he dissented from the majority. He believed the Arkansas law was "unconstitutionally vague" rather than believing it was a violation of the first amendment.
15: Aftermath... | Immediately after the Court's decision, those against the ruling tried to require schools to teach biblical creation; claiming it as a theory. | In 1995, the state board of education in Arkansas stated that a disclaimer in biology textbooks would be added in order for people to know evolution is a "controversial theory". The governor Fob James agreed with the disclaimer.
16: When a man in Mississippi filed suit against an anti-evolution law, the Mississippi Supreme Court declared its anti- evolution statue rather than "hold[ing] the line as a Christian state". | Cases affected by Epperson Decision
17: Webster v. New Lenox School District (1990) decision declared a teacher cannot teach creationism in public school, which was decided based off the Epperson decision. | In John E. Peloza v. Capistrano Unified School District (1994), evolution was declared not a religion; therefore, it could be taught in schools.
18: Unclarity of Epperson Decision | The Epperson Decision failed to address whether it was constitutionally legal to teach creationism causing many Christians to use the Court to help them allow creationism within schools. | In Wright v. Houston Independent School District (1972), Wright filed suit stating that her child's freedom of religion was being taken away because of the teaching of evolution. The court decided evolution can be taught even if it interferes with others religion.
19: Work Cited | Church State Sign. N.d. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2012. m
20: Earl Warren. N.d. Wikimedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2012.
21: Justice Abe Fortas . N.d. Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2012.
22: Secular history vs. Biblical history. N.d. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2012.