Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Judge Jones’s intelligent design

Last year, Judge John E. Jones, III handed down a decision in the Dover (PA) intelligent design case that got him lots of good press (albeit not from me). Turns out that he was basically channelling the ACLU line in the portion of his opinion dealing with ID.

Let’s just say that his opinion gives the lie to what he said in his Dickinson College commencement address:

I am daily exposed to many disciplines, I must learn and relearn things constantly, and I am at risk of deciding a case incorrectly if I accept that which is presented to me at face value.

Well, this critical thinker took what the ACLU handed him at face value, and then took the accolades for "his" definitive opinion.

Update: Judge Jones’s critics at
the Discovery Institute have been all over his opinion, and have also found a striking similarity between his Dickinson commencement address and a book published a few years earlier. Hmm.

Discussions - 6 Comments

How do you know that he didn’t consider the ACLU opinion and decide that he agrees with it? Just playing monkey’s advocate here.

Daniel K has it right. That is kind of how every judicial decision ever rendered is made. The judge essentially throws the weight of his (and on an appellate court his concurring collegues’) authority behind one line of reasoning over another. What is the problem here? That is how the adversarial system works: lawyers present arguments and claims and judges (with the help of juries) decide between them.

Besides: these are proposed findings of fact!! If the judge ruled in one party’s favor, he better have agreed with their version of the facts. It would be kind of odd to say to a criminal defendant in a bench trial: look, I agree that the evidence shows that the butler probably murdered Mr. Jones, but I am finding you guilty anyway. That is essentially the sort of scenario that the Discovery Institute is setting up.

The judge’s opinion, celebrated as a monument of judicial craftsmanship, is a cut and paste job that even repeats the ACLU’s mistakes about the record.

Not that any of this makes ID actual science.

Or makes this ruling actual justice.

"In fact, 90.9% (or 5,458 words) of Judge Jones’ 6,004-word section on intelligent design as science was taken virtually verbatim"

For starters Mr. K, I’m a little uncomfortable with the phrase "virtually verbatim" from the center’s report. And though I did not read the whole thing, many of what they call the ACLU’s mistakes are actually the ACLU’s differences of opinion with the Center’s.

I have no desire to whip up the whole creationist/evolution argument here. Although if you care to start another thread about it, I’ll happily whip away.

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