Court sets precedent regarding intelligent design

Supreme Court issues verdict involving scientific origin theories in schools

By Graham Spitzer and Editorial Staff

Today, in the Burmingham Area School District v. Christy Rehm; Deborah Fenimore; Joel Lieb; Steven Stough; et al was in the Michigan Hall of Justice, Chief Justice Stephen Markman and Justices Brian Zahra and Elizabeth Clement ruled that Resolution 27 violated the Establishment Clause. Appellants, Ryan Carmody, Caleb Haaland, and Grace Anne Rosbury, and appellees, Josiah Jaster, Krestian Robe and Tabitha Sterner, debated the issue. The appellants argued that Resolution 27 did not violate the Establishment Clause because it was going to teach the intelligent design theory that the universe was design by some intelligent force, not specifically a deity. They cited reasons such as the fact that Christianity is not the only religion which holds to the theory, but Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions as well. However, the appellees stated that it was precisely this reason that intelligent design is a religious theory. In addition, they countered that even though Resolution 27 is not a religious decision in and of itself, it was made for religious reasons to get creation back into the schools. The debate centered around three tests. The first test, proposed by the appellants, was the Coercion Test, which basically determines whether or not something violates the establishment clause because it does not force someone into a religious activity. The test the appellees were advocating to use was the Lemon test, the three prongs of which were that, in regards to the resolution, it has not “intended to endorse a religious belief,” “it has a valid secular purpose and effect” and it “does not excessively tangle the government with religion.” In the end the Lemon test was used, and Resolution 27 was ruled unconstitutional.

 

LEAD is a leadership and government camp for high school students run by the Student Statesmanship Institute. We are very grateful for the justices’ willingness to participate in our Moot Court simulation and thankful for their service to the people of Michigan on our state’s highest court.