I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Update on ACSI v. Stearns (Fundy Schools v. UC)

I posted several articles about Association of Christian Schools International v. Stearns. A hearing on motions for summary judgment was scheduled for last September 24 but then the case appeared to drop off the radar screen.

I asked ACSI what happened to the case and got this response on Jan. 4:

Within the last few days ACSI has learned that the judge has rescheduled the hearing for summary judgment for February 14th, Valentine’s Day. If a jury trial follows, it will probably take place sometime during the summer of 2008.

I thought that in civil trials, a right to a jury trial is guaranteed only when the relief sought is something of monetary value (Amendment VII of Constitution). I asked ACSI about that and I am awaiting a reply.

The slow progress of the case is noteworthy -- the case was initiated way back in August 2005. It seems that the courts are stalling on high-profile controversial cases -- for example, 16 months after the Selman v. Cobb County evolution-disclaimer textbook-sticker decision, the appeals court finally decided to vacate and remand it because of missing evidence. As the saying goes, the courts are as slow as molasses in a midwinter cold snap at the South Pole. The slow progress of these cases makes it especially important to have more school boards step up to the monkey-trial plate. The last active monkey-trial case involving the public schools was Selman v. Cobb County and the Cobb County school board took a dive and settled out of court.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

I did warn you that it had been postponed indefinitely so the judge could review the submissions.

>>>I thought that in civil trials, a right to a jury trial is guaranteed only when the relief sought is something of monetary value (Amendment VII of Constitution). I asked ACSI about that and I am awaiting a reply. <<<

Amendment 7 preserves the right to jury trials, but does not restrict the right. The right can also be extended, e.g. by federal statute. From FRCP 38 (emphasis mine):

(a) Right Preserved.

The right of trial by jury as declared by the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution — or as provided by a federal statute — is preserved to the parties inviolate.


Also, Rule 39 allows the court to establish an advisory jury.

>>> The slow progress of the case is noteworthy -- the case was initiated way back in August 2005.<<<

(Wasn't it August 2006?) The case spent almost exactly a year in arbitration before a magistrate, and suffered a lengthy setback when the magistrate was replaced. Remove the arbitration period, and it is on nearly the same schedule as Dover was.

Selman was at the long end of the typical turnaround time for an appeal (6-18 months). The reason for the delay was to allow the parties to attempt to find the "missing" evidence. Note that the evidence was found (some of which was rejected by the appeals court because the plaintiffs couldn't prove that it had been entered into evidence), and a new trial with expert witnesses and the found evidence was set to begin. Also note that the school board had recently lost a hundred million dollar lawsuit, the community was extremely critical of the lawsuit, and that they were not going to receive free representation from their lawyer any longer.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 3:30:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> I did warn you that it had been postponed indefinitely so the judge could review the submissions. <<<<<

Yes, but the case was off the radar screen for a long time after that.

>>>>> Amendment 7 preserves the right to jury trials, but does not restrict the right. <<<<<

Yes -- I should have said "constitutionally guaranteed" instead of just "guaranteed."

>>>>>>"The right of trial by jury as declared by the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution — or as provided by a federal statute — is preserved to the parties inviolate." <<<<<<<<

Well, duh.

>>>>>> Remove the arbitration period, and it is on nearly the same schedule as Dover was. <<<<<<

You can remove the arbitration period -- I won't. This case is already well over two years old and is still in the early stages.

>>>>> Selman was at the long end of the typical turnaround time for an appeal (6-18 months). <<<<<<

That might be typical for cases decided on the merits, but might not be typical for cases that are vacated and remanded because of missing evidence.

>>>>>> The reason for the delay was to allow the parties to attempt to find the "missing" evidence. <<<<<<

The delay was continued for several months after it was realized that the missing evidence was not likely to be found.

>>>>>> Also note that the school board had recently lost a hundred million dollar lawsuit, <<<<<

A hundred million dollars? WOW.

The school board hadn't lost anything.

>>>>> the community was extremely critical of the lawsuit <<<<<<

probably many in the community supported the lawsuit.

>>>>> and that they were not going to receive free representation from their lawyer any longer. <<<<<<<

Where did you hear that? Anyway, the Cobb County school district is filthy rich.

The school district was actually in a very good position -- the evidence that was the basis of the decision against the board had not been found and the appeals court judges indicated in an oral hearing that they were leaning towards reversal.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 9:41:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Here is another Judge Jones limerick:

There once was a judge who had news
of getting some help from the Jews.
"They're helping me out,"
he said with a shout,
"by helping to tighten the screws."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008 9:53:00 AM  

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