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Federal court of appeals remands Georgia evolution disclaimer case

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] on Thursday remanded [opinion text, PDF] an appeal from the Atlanta-based Cobb County School District [official website] asking the court to overturn [JURIST report] a district court decision [text; JURIST report] requiring the school district to remove stickers in their biology textbooks calling evolution "a theory, not a fact." The three-judge panel asked the district court to determine if the public school district's actions were "religiously neutral," implying that the stickers may stay if they do not represent a government endorsement of religion. In order to do so, the district court must consider whether the government pressured the school district into adopting the sticker policy.

Cobb County originally instituted the sticker policy in response to complaints from some parents claiming that the textbook represented evolution as fact without including any rival theories about the creation of life. Other parents of some of the students in the district later sued, claiming the policy violated the separation of church and state under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment [text]. Students and staff last year removed stickers [JURIST report] from 35,000 biology textbooks pending appeal of the case. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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