Edwards v Aguiallard


Edwards v Aguillard was a 1987 Supreme Court case centering around the constitutionality of a Louisiana statue requiring that creation science be taught along side of evolution in the public schools.


Evolution remains so controversial primarily because it is part of a larger debate over nature and the meaning of life. The study of how life began almost inevitably raises questions of why: Why did life begin? Why are humans rational? Why is there order in the universe? Men and women have debated these questions for thousands of years, considering them to be some of the most important inquiries human beings can undertake (Levy, Karst, West, 132).


Is Creation Science scientific, irreligious, and factual, thus constitutionally permissible to teach in public schools?

Can creation science be taught without promoting a particular religious belief, especially that human beings were created by a supernatural entity?

Would academic freedom be gained by implementation of the act?

Is the Balanced Treatment Act constitutional under Establishment Clause? Or does it have a non-secular purpose by promoting religion?

Did the lower court make a procedural error when they made their summary judgment without hearing any of the state\'s evidence?

Does the bill promote fairness and academic freedom by requiring that "all truths be heard"? Or is it merely a ploy to get Genesis back into the schools?

Does the legislative history of the case demonstrate that it has a religious purpose or not?

Are previous judgments of the court in favor or against the statute?


Many notable figures joined in the case, demonstrating the on-going prominence of the issue of evolution many years after the 1968 Epperson v AR trial that attempted to make it illegal to teach evolution in public schools.

Since this time many proponents of the Genesis narrative felt that Christianity was slowing losing to the secular humanitarianism religion in public schools. One such believer was LA Senator Bill Keith. Sen. Keith introduced the bill in the LA in 1980.

Governor of LA
Jay Topkis of ACLU


The Louisiana Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science in Public School Instruction Act was introduced in 1980 and passed by a 68 and 79% majority in the senate and house, respectively in 1981

At this point, (list appellees) sued to keep act from being enforced. At the same time, LA Dept. of Edu. Brought the issue of the constitutionality of the Act to the United States District Court for the Eastern Division of LA. The state found the act unconstitutional. Edwards then appealed to the 5th Circuit court of appeals. There a summary judgment held that the act promoted religion, and was thus in violation of the Tripart test of the Establishment Clause and thus unconstitutional. Thus ruling was later controversial and as such a large part of the appellant\'s case when they filed to the US Supreme Court in June of 1986.


2 Main Parts to their Argument: Precdural and Constitutional. The appellants argued that the lower court decision should be reversed on procedural and constitutional grounds and that their case be allowed to go to trial.

I. Decision under review contradicts precedural rules for summary judgment specified by the Supreme Court, thus should be reversed.

A. -State\'s uncontroverted (kept saying) Affidavidts not taken as true by the court.
-Evidence in affidivits not taken as true and not viewed in favorable light
Thus lower court error.
-(explain here how the burden of proof is not on the presentee.)

B. Creation Science is scientific and non-religious. Read pg 113
Moreover, it is as scientific as evolution.
-explein how they quoted sorces saying "evolution is in a time of crisis, stating thst it can\'t be any more factual since it can\'t corraborate its version of creation b/c no on e was there when it happened. (I took this to mean that Creatiniosm was factual b/c God was there when it occurred.)

II. Act is constitutional under the Estb. Clause (not religious, promotes academic freedom instead) Thus reversal is necessary

A. It is constitutional to ref. To a creator under the tripart test (though uick to note that the act does not necessarily hold that there is a creator)
-showed Engle v Vitale
B. INTERESTIMG LINE OF ARGUMENT. Act is constit, under Alternative Hist. Test. Read Pg 128
C. Passes tripart test because doesn\'t promot religion, rather academic freedom. Read pg 130