Eric Rothschild Served as Plaintiffs’ Counsel in Settlement of
Cobb County School District Anti-Evolution Sticker Dispute
Philadelphia, PA – December 19, 2006 – LAWFUEL – Legal News, Legal Jobs – Pepper Hamilton LLP has helped win another big victory for science education and religious freedom. In an agreement announced today in the long-running Selman v. Cobb County School District case, the Cobb County (Georgia) School Board has agreed to a settlement regarding its 2002 decision to place anti-evolution stickers on high-school biology textbooks.
Eric Rothschild, a partner in Pepper’s Philadelphia office, joined a team comprised of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the ACLU of Georgia and the Atlanta-based law firm of Bondurant, Mixon & Elmore to handle the case for the plaintiffs – school district parents who sued the school board arguing that the sticker policy promoted religion in science classrooms and thus violated the separation of church and state. Mr. Rothschild joined the team as part of Pepper’s pro bono program.
The case had been remanded back to the district court by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which had requested more information about the situation before ruling on the constitutionality of the policy.
The team negotiated a consent decree with Cobb County School District in which school officials agreed to the removal of all anti-evolutions stickers from biology textbooks. They also agreed that no similar warnings or disclaimers would be used in the future and not to take other actions that would undermine the teaching of evolution in biology classes.
“Cobb County School District’s decision to settle the case shows the school board’s desire to work for the best interest of their students,” said Mr. Rothschild. “It was the right move, and an admirable one.”
Mr. Rothschild and co-counsel Richard Katskee of Americans United are veterans of last year’s victory in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, the landmark case that struck down as unconstitutional the teaching of intelligent design in public schools.
In Selman, the legal team once again enlisted the help of Kitzmiller experts Kenneth Miller of Brown University and Brian Alters of McGill University, as well as advisor Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education to serve as expert witnesses. These experts helped persuade the federal court to invalidate Dover’s intelligent design policy in Kitzmiller, which may have motivated Cobb County to settle.
“In both the Kitzmiller and Cobb County cases, parents have successfully stood up for their children’s right to learn science, not religion, in science class,” said Mr. Rothschild. “All students benefit from their courage.”
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Pepper Hamilton LLP (www.pepperlaw.com) is a multi-practice law firm with 450 lawyers in seven states and the District of Columbia. The firm provides corporate, litigation and regulatory legal services to leading businesses, governmental entities, nonprofit organizations and individuals throughout the nation and the world. The firm was founded in 1890.