Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Larry and Jeanne Caldwell, lawsuit filers extraordinaire, have had one dismissed. They sued over Berkeley’s Understanding Evolution website, claiming that it used government money to promote religious views. Timothy Sandefur wrote a response to that suit showing why it was clearly frivolous and apparently the courts agreed. Carl Zimmer reports that the suit has been dismissed. I don’t have details on the dismissal yet, but I’ll post them as soon as I do.

Update: Christopher Patti, the UC counsel who argued this case, was kind enough to send me a copy of the judge’s order granting the motion to dismiss. I have uploaded the order in PDF format here. The dismissal was primarily on the grounds of standing, not on the substantive issues in the case.

Comments

  1. #1 Halcyon
    March 14, 2006

    Well it’s good to see this one dismissed. Does anyone here know what happened to the one suit where the Christian Schools were sueing because their credits weren’t being recognized?

  2. #2 Dave S.
    March 14, 2006

    Isn’t there some sort of law that says you can’t just file lawsuit after pointless lawsuit with the intent to be a harassing douchbag?

  3. #3 Ed Brayton
    March 14, 2006

    Halcyon wrote:

    Does anyone here know what happened to the one suit where the Christian Schools were sueing because their credits weren’t being recognized?

    Still waiting for the judge to rule on the motion to dismiss. Mr. Patti was also kind enough to send me the defendants’ filings on that, which I’ve been dying to get my hands on. I’ll be posting about that shortly.

  4. #4 Halcyon
    March 14, 2006

    Woohoo! See I knew you’d have some info.

  5. #5 gascan
    March 14, 2006

    WRT “lawsuit after pointless lawsuit”, INAL but I believe the term is “vexatious litigant” and the courts are, for some reason, very reluctant to take away someone’s right to sue. 60 Minutes did a piece a few years ago about some woman who made her entire neighborhood a living hell by suing everyone for everything, and the courts still didn’t sanction her.

  6. #6 Ed Darrell
    March 14, 2006

    Generally another party will have to make the vexatious litigant motion. Sometimes vexatious litigants avoid that by suing different people all the time. Caldwell has sued Genie Scott, in a suit he let lapse, his local school district, and Berkeley.

    Someone sued by one of the Caldwells may want to have the history available for the sake of motions, but so far he’s going after different defendants every time.

    Has the Discovery Institute noted the dismissal? IIRC they and a few other ID blogs trumpeted the original suit. I’m sure in the interests of accuracy and fairness they’ll want to note the dismissal.

  7. #7 Always Learning
    March 14, 2006

    Does anyone know where I could find a copy of the Complaint? Thank you.

  8. #8 Bruce Beckman
    March 14, 2006

    I have a pdf of the complaint. It’s 2.75 Mb. I could e-mail it or perhaps Ed would be willing to host it.

  9. #9 Ed Brayton
    March 14, 2006

    Bruce-

    If you wanna email it to me, I’ll be happy to host it. I don’t think I’ve seen it myself.

  10. #10 Ed Brayton
    March 14, 2006

    I’ve uploaded the original complaint to my domain. Click here.

  11. #11 Pico Farad
    March 15, 2006

    Since the merits weren’t addressed don’t they just have to correct the problems with standing and file the complaint again?

    It seems clear that taxpayer funds are being used to send a religious message i.e. evolution is compatible with Christian theology. It isn’t the gov’ts business to tell people what is and is not compatible with their religious beliefs. I’m surprised at anyone who supports the defendants in this.

  12. #12 snaxalotl
    March 15, 2006

    “It isn’t the gov’ts business to tell people what is and is not compatible with their religious beliefs.”

    The government (via the education system) just tells people what is generally agreed fact. It’s the religions which have a tendency to inform their members that their beliefs aren’t compatible with reality.

  13. #13 Ed Brayton
    March 15, 2006

    Pico Farad wrote:

    It seems clear that taxpayer funds are being used to send a religious message i.e. evolution is compatible with Christian theology. It isn’t the gov’ts business to tell people what is and is not compatible with their religious beliefs. I’m surprised at anyone who supports the defendants in this.

    This is false. The website does not endorse any religious view, it merely describes a religious view. It says that there are many Christian and Jewish organizations who have publicly stated that there is no conflict between evolution and their faith. There is no constitutional violation in describing religious views, only in endorsing them. It is a simple factual statement – some religious groups endorse evolution. It is no more a violation of the first amendment than to say that Islam was founded by Muhammed or that Christians believe Jesus was the Messiah.

  14. #14 Ed Brayton
    March 15, 2006

    By the way, Pico Farad is none other than our old pal DaveScot. While I appreciate him taking time out of his normal daily routine of making a complete ass of himself over at Dembski’s blog, this just gave me the opportunity to ban him here as he was on my old blog.

  15. #15 Monado
    March 18, 2006

    In Canada, judges can asses the costs of the case against plaintiffs who have brought a frivolous suit: that means that they have to pay the defendents’ lawyers and perhaps other expenses. It tends to cut down on such nonsense.

    I’ve linked to this post from my own ‘blog, with a few comments about it and of course a link to the neat Understanding Evolution site.