Reports out of Georgia about this morning’s arguments in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is really interesting as the three Judge panel jumped all over the ACLU attorney.
First the Atlanta Journal Constitution leads with this:
Three federal appeals court judges today indicated a lower court judge got key facts wrong in declaring unconstitutional an evolution disclaimer sticker put in Cobb County science books.
During oral arguments, all members of the federal appeals court panel noted that U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Cooper made incorrect findings as the basis for his decision that the stickers violated the First Amendment by endorsing a religious viewpoint.
And if that isn’t interesting enough for you, here are a few comments from the Judges themselves:
“The court gives two bases for its findings and they’re absolutely wrong,” [Judge] Carnes told Atlanta lawyer Jeffrey Bramlett, who argued on behalf of five parents who sued the school board to get the stickers removed.
Judge Frank Hull also noted that Cooper said the sticker misleads students even though there was no evidence to support that position.
“The order’s problematic, you’d agree with that, in the way that it was written?” Hull asked Bramlett, who had little time to argue his position.
Judge Bill Pryor also noted that Cooper relied on facts that “are just contradicted by the record.”
Meanwhile, the Associated Press is reporting:
“I don’t think y’all can contest any of the sentences,” Carnes said to an attorney for parents who sued challenging the stickers during a hearing on the case. “It is a theory, not a fact; the book supports that.”
At the end of the session the Judges called the ACLU on the carpet about their legal briefs:
At the end of the arguments, Carnes took the highly unusual step of calling Bramlett back up to the podium and suggested he may have mislead the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in his legal brief filed with the court.