The Case Of Epperson V. Arkansas

953 WordsMay 5, 20154 Pages
In the wake of the Scopes trial in Tennessee, the State of Arkansas passed an “anti-evolution” statute in 1928, that made it illegal "to teach the theory or doctrine that mankind ascended or descended from a lower order of animals," or "to adopt or use in any such institution a textbook that teaches the doctrine or theory that mankind ascended or descended from a lower order of animal.” Forty years later, the case of Epperson v. Arkansas (1968) was argued before the Supreme Court. The case originated in 1965, when Susan Epperson was hired to teach 10th grade biology at Little Rock Central High School. The local school board had recently adopted, as a part of an approved curriculum, a new biology textbook that included a section on evolution. Immediately, Epperson recognised her dilemma; that to teach the required curriculum would put her at risk for dismissal under the “anti-evolution” statute. A suit was filed to challenge the constitutionality of the statute, and the State Chancery Court of Pulaski County ruled that the statute was unconstitutional. This ruling was overturned by the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1967. Upon appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court held that: Arkansas ' law cannot be defended as an act of religious neutrality. Arkansas did not seek to excise from the curricula of its schools and universities all discussion of the origin of man. The law 's effort was confined to an attempt to blot out a particular theory because of its supposed conflict with the Biblical
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