Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Bizarre Lawsuit Dismissed

This has to be one of the strangest lawsuits I’ve ever heard of. A woman named Joyce Marie Edwards filed a lawsuit in Federal district court in Connecticut – representing herself – against the Federal government, and specifically the Supreme Court, claiming that the Court’s ruling against mandatory school prayer violates the Declaration of Independence and has caused all kinds of bad things.

Apparently Edwards was a volunteer at a local school in her hometown and was told that she could not preach to the kids about Christianity. According to the ruling (which is on Lexis, so I can’t link to it), she told a bunch of students “that the only thing I found to truly help me stop doing bad things and healed me was receiving Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior (by reading the Word of God, the Holy Bible).” The school principal told her she couldn’t say things like that to the students and that seems to have set her off.

The whole thing is quite strange. She could have filed a suit against the school itself. She would not likely win that suit, but at least the court would have jurisdiction to hear the case. Instead, she sued the United States (meaning, literally, the entire Federal government) and the Supreme Court specifically. The district court rightly informed her that they simply didn’t have jurisdiction in such a case.

First, you cannot sue the Supreme Court in a lower Federal court that is bound to uphold precedents set by the Supreme Court. Second, the court said that she had not stated a claim that was traceable to the United States as a whole or to the Supreme Court. They could also have dismissed the case for failure to make a coherent claim, but the judge went out of his way to consider her complaint in the light of its strongest claims and most charitable interpretation.