Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Wes Elsberry has caught a major falsehood in an article published by the American Enterprise Institute, written by one of their research analysts (who either failed to do his research or chose to lie about it) and Seth Cooper, formerly of the DI and the attorney who worked with the Dover board on their ID policy in 2004. They accuse Bryan Rehm, one of the plaintiffs in the Dover case who was later elected to the Dover school board just after the trial wrapped up (but before the ruling came out), of having a conflict of interest and of helping to defeat a school board motion that would have changed the board policy and possibly prevented the Judge from ruling in the case or awarding legal fees to the plaintiff.

There’s only a couple problems with this. First, everyone on both sides of the case agreed with every legal scholar I know that the new board reversing the previous board’s policy would not have negated the ruling at all. The voluntary cessation doctrine would have prevented it. The trial was wrapped and because the board could just as easily return to the policy later, the judge was still going to rule on the case regardless of what decision was made by the new board.

Second, and most importantly, they are absolutely wrong about Rehm’s alleged involvement. Rehm was not on the board when the decision was made because he had to have a runoff election. He didn’t take his place on the board until January and the vote they refer to took place in December. He wasn’t even present at the meeting where the vote was taken. So their accusations are completely false. Will they retract them? Time will tell.

P.S. The article also says that Eric Rothschild is with the ACLU. That is false. He is a partner with the Pepper Hamilton law firm, he does not work for the ACLU. His firm handled the Dover case on behalf of the ACLU.

P.P.S. Naturally, you’d expect that Dembski would jump on board to endorse the article immediately without any regard to whether it’s accurate.


  1. #1 bourgeois_rage
    April 4, 2006

    Plus, if the ACLU was so involved on the inside, like the DI wishes everyone to think, shouldn’t they have told the board to appeal the decision so they could get a higher court to uphold the ruling and get some more force behind it?

  2. #2 Gretchen
    April 4, 2006

    This is such a good example of what makes the book you’re working on so important.

  3. #3 Foggg
    April 4, 2006

    It’s long past time a one word euphemism was coined for:
    “Someone associated with the Discovery Institute made a whopper.”
    How about a “Joyce”?
    As in a twist on JamesJ’s aphorism “Mistakes are the portals of Discovery.”

  4. #4 Jim Lippard
    April 4, 2006


    Your book definitely needs to cover lies the DI told about Dover, before, during, and after…

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