Talk:ACLU

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"Rare example" and other problems

Is simply false. I can easily give you 20 examples the ACLU defending Christians. Furthermore, it is very difficult to claim that the ACLU was being anti-Christian or such in the Dover trial since part of the issue was the claim made by the defence that ID was not Christian in nature. JoshuaZ 00:01, 22 February 2007 (EST)

Joshua, your 20 cases is out of how many? 20,000? That would be 0.1%. That is very rare indeed. Let's be factual about this. The ACLU brings at least 100 cases against prayer, the Ten Commandments, statutes, Boy Scouts, Intelligent Design, etc., for every case brought on the other side. Be honest about the ratios here.
In the Dover case the ACLU attacked Christian comments made by school board members. Again, be honest about the facts. ID is backed by Christians and typically opposed by atheists. There are rare counterexamples of little significance.--Aschlafly 00:13, 22 February 2007 (EST)
Andrew, first of all note that I said I can easily give you 20. There are far more examples than that- 20 is the easy number to do. Second of all, I would tentatively suggest that even if your claim were accurate there is a simple explanation- the US is a country with a large Christian majority, it is therefore not at all surprising that the vast majority of violations of the first amendment and related issues occur where Christians are the one's whose views are being possibly establshed and thus invite the ACLU's ire. If the vast majority of the US were Muslim or Jewish or Hindu or Flying Spaghetti Monsterish or Invisible Pink Unicornish then the ACLU would have the vast majority of its cases dealing with Muslims or Jews or Hindus or Flying Spaghetti Monsterers or Invisible Pink Unicornists. As to Dover, the ACLU never "attacked Christian comments" (in fact, the ACLU wasn't even the biggest player on the plaintiff's side but that's a separate issue) but rather pointed out that comments made by members of the school board and school district administration demonstrated motivations that under current precidents constituted strong evidence of an unconstitutional attempt to establish religion. An argument I may add, that a Republican, self-identifying "church-goer" and major support of Rick Santorum agreed with. As to your final claim that "ID is backed by Christians and typically opposed by atheists" I presume that Ken Miller would disagree as would Judge Jones again and as would many major Christian denominations and as would over 10,000 Christian clergy(as already pointed out to you). So yes, by all means, let's be honest. JoshuaZ 00:55, 22 February 2007 (EST)
(Incidentally, I find it amusing, I think that the ACLU does have serious biases and they can be not unreasonably be described as liberal and arguably anti-Judeo-Christian, but you are making such an incredibly weak argument for it that it isn't funny). JoshuaZ 00:55, 22 February 2007 (EST)

It's a known fact that the ACLU only takes "token" Christain cases to hide their true agenda. just because you can come up with 20 or 30 only proves my point when you look at the thousands and thousands of anti-Christian cases filed by them.

Also, do you deny that they regularly defend NAMBLA, and abortion factories?

I don't think they defend "abortion factories" because there aren't any such thing- there are places which provide abortions and yes the ACLU does defend their right to do so. However, the ACLU has also defended the rights of anti-abortion protesters. And simply claiming that something is a "known fact" doesn't make it so. Furthermore, you clearly missed my point above about that given what the ACLU does the groups it defends will more often than not be the less popular ones. JoshuaZ 13:24, 22 February 2007 (EST)

Obvious Parody?

OK, so "hundreds of thousands" was a bit of an exaggeration, but the rest was absolutely correct. It is not a "parody" to mention that the ACLU defends NAMBLA, abortionists, and athiests. Nor is it "parody" to discuss the simple, demonstrable fact of their anti-Christian agenda

Also, that 90% number is a fact - it was researched extensively by the Discovery Institute, which was properly cited in the article.

Firstly, you didn't merely "mention that the ACLU defends NAMBLA, abortionists, and athiests." Your claims were far more specific. You claimed that the ACLU defends "the so-called "rights" of pedophiles to molest children." This is utterly false. The ACLU has never suggested or implied in any way that molesting children is a right, nor have they claimed that it is morally or legally acceptable. Their only defence of NAMBLA has been on free speech issues. You also claimed that the ACLU defend a 'right' "to remove and destroy all public references to the One True God, Jesus Christ." This is directly contrary to their stated position, which clearly identifies those public references which in their view are acceptable.
Secondly, the DI does not make the claim you've made. Here's what they say:
In fact, 90.9% (or 5,458 words) of Judge Jones’ 6,004- word section on intelligent design as science was taken virtually verbatim from the ACLU’s proposed “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law”
You've taken that figure and applied it to the whole ruling, not just that one section. Furthermore, the DI never laid out an objective measure of what exactly constitutes 'virtually verbatim' - indeed, their standard appears to be 'we know it when we see it,' which is hardly reliable. This is a huge non-issue in any case, as Jones was simply following standard judicial practice.
Finally, the section about legal fees is also wrong. The ACLU did not expend millions of dollars. Most of the costs were carried by the independent legal firm, Pepper Hamilton. Judge Jones did not order all legal expenses reimbursed; the award he made was considerably less than the costs incurred. Tsumetai 05:00, 23 February 2007 (EST)

OK, the new section on Dover is marginally better, but still mostly wrong:

  • It was not a 'typical' trial
  • The judge did not copy 90% of the ACLU's brief
  • The judge did not award over $2m in fees; the actual figure was $1m
  • It was the school board itself, not its members, who were liable to pay the $1m fees
  • The judge did not prohibit mention of ID by teachers in the school
  • The judge's order did not prevent appeal - how on earth could it?

Tsumetai 20:55, 24 February 2007 (EST)

Tsumetai, would you like me to post the order granting over $2m in legal fees? Would you believe it then? Would like to see how it was entered against the school board members personally in addition to the board? Would you like to see how the order prevented any appeal? I can obtain the order in pdf format and would be happy to post it if I can figure how ... and if you agree to reconsider your position.--Aschlafly 01:01, 25 February 2007 (EST)
Actually, you're correct on the amount; I tracked down a copy of the order myself. The reduction to $1M was due to a later agreement between the plaintiffs and the new school board, it seems. The order names only the Dover School District and its board of directors, however. So, I gladly withdraw my complaint about the amount, but I'm still concerned about the other points I raised. For future reference, I'm happy to reconsider any and all positions I hold, given sufficient evidence to the contrary. Tsumetai 08:27, 25 February 2007 (EST)
"It seems"??? The last order on the docket says over $2 million (Feb. 24, 2006). I'm open to any support you have for your claims, but so far you're not supporting them. Also, I'd be curious who think are the "board of directors" of the School District, if not the school board members.
In sum, all five of your factual statements above, alleging mistakes in the entry, are wrong.--Aschlafly 19:30, 25 February 2007 (EST)
The board of directors is an entity in itself, not a group of individuals. That is why when several board members were replaced in an election, it was the new board which had to approve the payment of fees, not the old one.
As to 'support,' only one of the claims I'm objecting to is actually cited, and the citation doesn't actually say what the article claims. You can baldly state I'm wrong all you want, but last I checked, the first commandment of this site mentioned verifiability. If you can't demonstrate that the claims the article makes are correct, they shouldn't be there. Tsumetai 06:16, 27 February 2007 (EST)

Plagiarism is unethical

The last two edits of this article were just copied straight out of wikipedia. In addition to the obvious issues of liberal bias in wikipedia (especially on a topic like the ACLU!!!!!!), there has to be some kind of copyright violation with that.

this is probably not going to help, but I do not believe wikipedia has a liberal bias. that said, at least they have more dependent editors. The sort of ridiculous phrases and number games played throughout this article should be disturbing to those for and against the aclu.

Connection of ACLU michigan

ACLU michigan is listed as affiliated with the ACLU on the ACLU's webpage. This should be modified. JoshuaZ 19:05, 24 February 2007 (EST)


notes

Copying out of Wikipedia, as far as I know, is legal, as it's open source. Also, I'm not sure I saw the statement about communism in the cited article. This article definitely needs some revision. user:John

No, copying Wikipedia can only be done pursuant to the GFDL liscence which says roughly that full credit needs to be given to all prior contributors and that the copied or derivative content must be under the GFDL liscence also. See [56] for a summary and see the actual text here. JoshuaZ 00:08, 5 March 2007 (EST)

The Baldwin statement is a mis-quote.

The following statrement needs to be re-worded. As it is written now, it's a misquote, and it's taken out of context:

Baldwin's stated purpose in creating the ACLU was "We are for SOCIALISM, disarmament, and ultimately for abolishing the state itself... We seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class, and the SOLE CONTROL of those who produce wealth. COMMUNISM is the goal."

(1) The statement is one of Baldwin's, but it is improperly edited. His original comment was "I am for Socialism, disarmament, and ultimately abolishing the state itself...I seek social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class, and sole control by those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal."(Source: p. 13 of "The ACLU vs. America: Exposing the Agenda to Redefine Moral Values" by Alan Sears)

(2) The statement is taken totally out of context. He wrote it in his Harvard University Classbook. he was not referring to the stated goals of the ACLU at all.

For these two reasons, the sentence is just a smear. Though it should be noted that Baldwin was an outspoken socialist, the above sentence needs to be replaced with the following:

The ACLU is the American Civil Liberties Union, which was founded by several notable Americans, including Roger Nash Baldwin, noted Socialist, civil libertarian and pacifist, and Hellen Keller, among others. Originally, it was two organizations, the National Civil Liberties Bureau, founded to defend people accused by the government of being communist spies, and the American Union Against Militarism, which opposed US Entry into the First World War. By 1920, the leaders of the two organizations merged into the American Civil Liberties Union, with Baldwin as it's president. The ACLU's stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States".[1]

I've unprotected the page, but the self-serving description above does not objectively describe what the ACLU does. Maybe through the Wiki process something objective will result.--Aschlafly 17:28, 6 March 2007 (EST)

Footnotes: [1] [57] (American Civil Liberties Union web site. ACLU. Retrieved on 3-6-2007)

Essentially, we need to keep opinions and slander out of the project. We just need to stick to facts, no matter how we feel about a subject or person. Injecting opinion and misleading, doctored quotes, cheapens the project.


I have no knowledge of the Baldwin quote, whether it is true or not, but I followed the link that “supports” it, and noticed that the quote does not appear on the page the link takes me to. I’ve done a quick search for the quote and the only things I turn up are blogs that cite it as an example of “how funny” this site is, and posts that also cite the page linked from the article. That is, I can find no support for this quote at all. I would simply delete the quote as a fabrication, but, since the article is newly unlocked, I don’t want to be hasty in editing it. Can anyone find this quote in a reputable source? (I should note I don’t have access, at the moment, to the source supporting the alternative version of the quote, but I can’t find it attested to on any website.)--Reginod 20:11, 7 March 2007 (EST)
Not only is it a mis-quote, but it ignores the fact that Baldwin purged the ACLU of suspected Communists in the late 1940s. This quote is superfluous to the article as a whole.--Dave3172 00:21, 9 March 2007 (EST)
The quote supported by the citation. Many other citations on the internet confirm the quote. Are you saying a word should not be capitalized, or that some other trivial change should be made? I don't think Baldwin ever disclaimed the quote, and it was even printed in a Harvard reunion book. Nothing superfluous about it, either.--Aschlafly 00:24, 9 March 2007 (EST)
The words in the quote do not appear on the page used to support the quote. That is my objection. If there is a direct quote and then a citation to support that direct quote the page should have the quote on it—it would be nice if the page gave the context of the quote and some reason to believe it is true, but at the bare minimum I think the quote should appear on the page. I have searched the page and the words “Communism”, “abolition”, “abolishing”, “disarmament”, “ownership”, and “propertied” appear nowhere on the page. The word “socialism” does once, but not in the context of a quote from Baldwin. In point of fact neither the word “Roger” nor the word “Baldwin” appears on the page.
If the quote is true, there should be a link to a page with the quote—if no page with the quote can be found I think the quote should come down. But, at the very least, the citation should be changed.
I have, as I noted before, looked for a better place to cite to support this quote, but have been unable to find one.--Reginod 08:45, 9 March 2007 (EST)
This quote still does not appear on the page being used as a reference supporting it (and no one has provided a citation that actually supports the quote). Why is it still there?--Reginod 12:17, 19 March 2007 (EDT)
The quote appears nowhere in the citation used to support it. Baldwin said this before he ever started the ACLU. And as I pointed out, he purged the ACLU of Communists in the 1940s. How sympathetic could he still be towards that viewpoint if he kicked Communists out of the ACLU? The quote is not being used to butress a fact but is being misrepresented in order to portray the ACLU in a negative light. I would think there are plenty of legitimate ways to do that, rather than playing fast and loose with this quote.--Dave3172 00:32, 9 March 2007 (EST)

Basic Writing Errors

-"More typical of ACLU litigation was when attorneys on its side demanded over $2 million" There is a tense change here. Fix it. -There's no need to mention that Roger Baldwin is non-Christian; it's 100% inconsequential. --WOVcenter 12:45, 8 March 2007 (EST)

Basic legal errors

Your discussion of Selman v. Cobb County Sch. Dist., 449 F.3d 1320 is utterly flawed. I'll cite from the case: "In vacating the district court's [**49] judgment and remanding the case for additional proceedings, we want to make it clear that we do not intend to make any implicit rulings on any of the legal issues that arise from the facts once they are found on remand. We intend no holding on any of the legal premises that may have shaped the district court's conclusions on the three Lemon prongs. Mindful that in this area factual context is everything, we simply choose not to attempt to decide this case based on a less than a complete record on appeal or fewer than all the facts."

Selman v. Cobb County Sch. Dist., 449 F.3d 1320, 1338 (11th Cir. 2006)

In stating that the Selman case had been overturned, you make *GLARING* and rookie legal error. Vacating a case and remanding it is different from overturning it, a difference underscored by the fact that the opinion vacating the lower court's order explicitly stated that it passed no judgment on the legal theory of the case, only stating that the evidence for appellate review was too scanty!!

Further, you state that fees were awarded as if that were extraordinary. It is NOT. Fees are often awarded to the victorious party, and $2m is not an extraordinary sum, either, in a complex litigation matter. Finally, you cite again to the Discovery Institute in claiming that the Discovery Institute case opinion contained 90% of the ACLU's brief, which is (1) false - the only copies were in regard to the statement of facts, not the legal analysis, and (2) misleading, insofar as it suggests that that is not normal. District Judges often state their agreement with one party's idea of the facts. That's WHAT JUDGES DO in deciding a case!!

Insofar as these glaring errors existed, the text of the article has been modified.--AmesG 18:33, 8 March 2007 (EST)

Folks, the edits to this content page removed much factual information and replaced it with 50-year-old, unsupported claims. This is Conservapedia, not Wikipedia. At this rate the page will need to be locked again. But I'll wait in case someone wants to correct this first.--Aschlafly 18:42, 8 March 2007 (EST)
Asch, what was posted were not facts. They were misconstructions, exaggerations, and embellishments that fail to take account of the way the law actually works. You're an attorney, you should know that Costs are almost always awarded, and you should know the difference between vacating and reversing a case, too!!--AmesG 18:44, 8 March 2007 (EST)
When a case is vacated, it pretty much is a reversal. Geo. 00:19, 9 March 2007 (EST)
That is FALSE. Sometimes you're right, it is a reversal. However the SPECIFIC HOLDING of the appellate division was that it did not reverse or pass judgment on the legal issue. It merely remanded to seek facts, thus VACATING AND REMANDING, not REVERSING.--AmesG 00:26, 9 March 2007 (EST)

Kitzmiller Discussion wrong

The opinion did not prevent appeal. What probably prevents appeal is that it would be a losing case and there is a new board there. Furthermore, this was not a free excercise case, but an establishment clause case. You should also mention that the order for costs is according to federal law on constitutional rights. Further, you should link to the opinion so people can read it for themselves. It is hosted here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/kitzmiller_v_dover_decision.html Lawrah 02:15, 12 March 2007 (EDT)

Lawrah, I've tried to argue this unsuccessfully. Link to this admin to talk about it[58] You're right, though. There're some more legal errors, but they still won't correct them.--AmesG 02:21, 12 March 2007 (EDT)
I've gone over the Kitzmiller opinion again. I suggest any admins take a read through as well, paying particular attention to 400 F. Supp.2d at 723-25, where the Court has some discussion of the Selman opinion. I bring these pages to your attention because they are characteristic of the opinion's use of the Selman decision - it does not "heavily rely" upon Selman, but rather, when citing it at all, it uses it as one of a number of "string citations," not as sole authority. Further, when it cites it at all, it is in support of a minor proposition, not a major tenet of constitutional law. For its major propositions, it cites exclusively to the Lemon test and the endorsement test, both of which - no matter how much you may personally hate them - are established Constitutional law.
I suggest that you edit the ACLU article to reflect the low importance that Selman plays in Kitzmiller, rather than continue to mislead your viewing public about Judge Jones' supposed reliance on it.--AmesG 17:50, 12 March 2007 (EDT)
In fact, the court couldn't "heavily rely" on Selman, because that was another district court decision with no precedential value. Even the vacating of Selman wouldn't have precedent for a PA district court, they're in different circuits. Do they teach about those in homeschool? Lawrah 23:58, 12 March 2007 (EDT)
I added the link to the opinion Geo. 00:15, 13 March 2007 (EDT)

In anticipation

RSchlafly, I look forward to another edit war with you. These always end with you getting confused, and then me getting banned for a day. Anywho, my version of this article is superior. Yours is full of bias words like "merely," et al, while mine gives the actual cited legal analysis and purpose of the stickers. Settle it here.-AmesGyo! 17:34, 1 April 2007 (EDT)

Lessee... random poster vs relative of the guy who runs the site. In the words of Ho Chih Zen, "Grasshopper always wrong in argument with chicken." --BDobbs 17:38, 1 April 2007 (EDT)

I changed it a bit to reflect what it really says, I'd phrased it wrong, apologies.-AmesGyo! 17:47, 1 April 2007 (EDT)

AmesG, your edit is wrong, misleading, and destructive, as usual. If something is wrong with the text, then please explain it here.
Your version has several errors. You say that the lawsuit was "for attempting to teach evolution as a theory", but that is misleading. As the reference said, the lawsuit was just over "Stickers Put in Evolution Text". Then you said that the school was endorsing creationism. Again, this is false. The stickers did not say anything about creationism. Then you cited the trial court as if it had the last word on the subject, but in fact that decision was vacated by a higher court. It is extremely dishonest to say that the court did something, when in fact that court was overruled on appeal. Thus there was nothing in your edit that was actually correct.
I do think that you should be banned for repeatedly making obstructionist edits like this. If you've really been to law school then you should know how improper it is to cite a vacated trial court opinion without at least saying that it was overruled on appeal. RSchlafly 18:23, 1 April 2007 (EDT)
First, I am enrolled at the #4 national law school and I can tell you for a fact that, having taken Civil Procedure from one of the century's best litigating attorneys, the term "vacate" is highly context-dependent. The legal effect of the trial court holding is not always overruled by an order vacating the trial court order. In the Selman case, which I have read (I assume you've read the "Discovery Institute" special reports on it, typos and all), the 5th Circuit vacated the holding as a result of the fact that the evidentiary record was not complete enough to allow an appeal yet. The court explicitly stated in the order vacating the lower court's holding that it passed no judgment on the merits of the lower court's opinion, rather finding insufficient evidence to judge this fact.
Learn to read primary sources, learn to distrust the Discovery Institute, and then put these findings into fact by making useful edits. Until you read the Selman case and the appellate record, you should not edit a description of it. This is basic common sense and professional courtesy. I assume that you wouldn't lampoon a colleague's mathematical proof without reading it, would you? Then do the Georgia Federal District Court the same courtesy.
Until you present findings to the contrary based on analysis of primary sources, I am reverting & modifying the article.-AmesGyo! 19:41, 1 April 2007 (EDT)

Instead, I just deleted that paragraph; it belongs in the Establishment Clause section, but it's already mentioned there. I clarified the footnote to explain the actual appellate record. Peace.-AmesGyo! 19:45, 1 April 2007 (EDT)

AmesG, your edit was wrong on all 3 counts. Are you conceding that or not? I don't care where you are going to law school, I don't want to citing vacated opinions as if they were good law. RSchlafly 21:11, 1 April 2007 (EDT)

Brother, you didn't answer any of my points. Speak to the points, specifically this quotation: "in vacating the district court's [**49] judgment and remanding the case for additional proceedings, we want to make it clear that we do not intend to make any implicit rulings on any of the legal issues that arise from the facts once they are found on remand. We intend no holding on any of the legal premises that may have shaped the district court's conclusions on the three Lemon prongs. Mindful that in this area factual context is everything, we simply choose not to attempt to decide this case based on a less than a complete record on appeal or fewer than all the facts." (449 F.3d 1320, 1338). Until you answer that point, it will be reverted again. And if you protect it rather than answer any of these compelling points, that you simply drop, you will continue to look like a fool.-AmesGyo! 21:16, 1 April 2007 (EDT)

Also, instead of mindlessly reverting, note that on your suggestion I noted the procedural posture of the case, thoroughly and accurately, in footnote. Isn't that accurate & fair?-AmesGyo! 21:17, 1 April 2007 (EDT)

I just reverted and protected the page. I did not do so mindlessly; I did so because you repeatedly and willfully removed good text from the page and inserted false statements. I gave you 3 reasons why your edit was false on this Talk page, and you have ignored them. Was the old text true or false? Was your text true or false?
Now you say that you will continue to revert it until I address some quote from the appeals court. I was the one who said that the appeals court vacated the trial court. Your quote backs up what I said. What else is there to say?
Your latest edit says, "re-instating lower court order". Do you have a source for this? Can you show me some document from the court saying that the lower court order was reinstated? RSchlafly 22:07, 1 April 2007 (EDT)

No, no, obviously you know more about law then me. That's just fine. Obviously your analysis of "Vacate" must be more accurate than someone who actually studies law, why should I worry? Also, I'm glad you reverted to keep the shoddy, poorly-thought-out, incoherent structure, and the separation between "ACLU and Evolution" and "ACLU and the Establishment Clause." That division makes good sense. Great job, Roger! Ignoring experts and degrading writing - shucks, time to call it a day!-AmesGyo! 22:20, 1 April 2007 (EDT)

And the order wasn't re-instated; it would have been, as the trial went the same way, but settlement was reached out of court leading to the exact same solution. So the stickers were removed without a court order: same result, as you can see here.-AmesGyo! 22:25, 1 April 2007 (EDT)
I guess you are admitting that your edit that said "re-instating lower court order" is also incorrect. That makes 4 errors in only a couple of lines of text that you inserted.
It doesn't matter if you are the world's greatest legal expert. That doesn't mean you can insert factual errors into the article. It amazes me that you would continue to insert errors after the errors have been pointed out to you on the Talk page. RSchlafly

Perhaps saying, "allowing the court order to stand" makes more sense to you than "re-instating the lower court order." Whichever way you cut it, it's more accurate than your statement is. If you want me to count your errors, I'd be thrilled to, though. First, you misunderstood the subtleties of "vacate." Second, you misstated the holding of the lower court to begin with, or rather, didn't address it. Those are two biggies. What are the other three that I made? But Roger, setting aside my disrespect for you intellectually, and setting aside your anger at me, let's face it - my version, with a slight revision now, is still a better statement of the truth than yours is. It's also better formatted. Re-instate my version, but noting that the court order was "allowed to stand," if not "re-instated," if the distinction makes you more comfortable.-AmesGyo! 23:06, 1 April 2007 (EDT)

I think we've both learned from each other, Roger, making my edits on the whole positive! Now insert what you learned.-AmesGyo! 23:15, 1 April 2007 (EDT)
The word "vacate" is not even in the article. If there is something wrong with the article, go ahead and explain. RSchlafly 00:45, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
"ACLU & Evolution" is a poorly formatted, biased quote that is repetitive of a previous section.-AmesGyo! 00:55, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

ACLU and Evolution

I have some problems with the “ACLU and Evolution” section of this article. The first is a minor one and should be easily corrected—the sentence in question starts with a quotation mark, suggesting that the sentence is taken directly from the source, but the sentence is not and so the opening quotation mark should be deleted. Second, the use of the word “merely” is argumentative and should probably be deleted for that reason alone. Third, the use of the word “merely” is false, as the stickers in question had more text than is quoted. (The article referenced indicates the stickers also had the words “a theory, not a fact” on them and from reading the article I can tell there are additional unquoted words on these stickers). Fourth, the articled does not say that the ACLU sued, but rather that the ACLU represented those who did sue – upset parents (a minor point but one that should be corrected). Fifth, the sentence carries the strong implication that the ACLU is engaged in fighting this case simply because it is dogmatically committed to evolution, but the article sighted suggests the ACLU is fighting the case because they believed that the stickers were motivated, in part or in whole, by religious dogma which the ACLU (rightly or wrongly) believes may not motivate what is taught in the schools – that is they objected to the stickers not because of the content alone, but the motivation behind the stickers. Since this article is locked, I request that someone with the authority to make these changes do so.--Reginod 08:28, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

I got in a shouting match with Roger for these exact changes.-AmesGyo! 09:54, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
Ah, but facts don't matter! The ideology must remain supreme!!--Dave3172 09:58, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

I agree with Reginod - (1) There are mismatched quotation marks, which should both be removed. (2) "merely" should be removed - readers may draw their own conclusions as to whether the action was warranted, which will likely depend on how they feel about church/state issues, a question on which Christians do not all agree, (3) the entire text of the stickers should be included. The stickers said "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered." [1] I think the entire text of the stickers should be included in the article - it's brief enough, and that way the facts are clearer. (4) The ACLU's role should be stated more precisely, (5) the ACLU's arguments should be described more accurately, preferably in their own words. (6) I also think there should be link to the judge's findings in Selman v. Cobb County [2], so that students may read his decision for themselves. Primary sources are critical when trying to understand cases like this, and when striving for academic excellence students should settle for nothing less. Let's help them find what they need so that they can excell. --Hsmom 12:21, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

The latest edit is a good start, thank you RSchlafly. However I still have a few concerns. First, the source cited does not give the full source of the stickers, so a new source should be given. Second, the sentence should indicate that the ACLU filed suit on behalf of parents in the district—this gives the full story and prevents the misconception that the ACLU comes in from the outside and makes trouble where it is not wanted (a charge frequently leveled against them). Third, leaving this in its own subheading still leaves the impression that this is, for the ACLU, a separate issue from the Establishment Clause. The ACLU participated in this suit because they oppose policy choices motivated by religion not because they are dogmatic evolutionists—leaving this case on its own—especially without giving the ACLUs motivation—gives a false impression.--Reginod 13:19, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

Thanks for your comments. I'd like to stick to documented facts. Do you have any proof of the ACLU's motivation? In particular, how do you know that the ACLU is more interested in religion than evolution, and that the ACLU didn't just come in from the outside and make trouble?
It seems to me that the ACLU filed in behalf of itself as much as the parents. No one sued without the ACLU. The ACLU could have found other parents if they had to. If parents sued without the ACLU and the ACLU came in later, then you would have a point. RSchlafly 14:10, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
I will see what I can find about motivations, and will post when I have. However, the ACLU cannot sue “in behalf of itself”—it lacks standing and would have been thrown out of court in a second. If you are serious about sticking to the facts, the article here should be changed to recognize the fact that the ACLU filed on behalf of the parents—the reference supporting this section says as much.--Reginod 14:39, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
Saying that the ACLU sued in behalf of the parents suggests that the parents were the only beneficiaries of the lawsuit. But the terms of the lawsuit were such that any monetary award would go to the ACLU, and not the parents. So I could mention the parents, but then I think that I'd have to also mention that the ACLU was going to get all the money itself. RSchlafly 14:50, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
Ok. So, if any money was awarded in the case (and my understanding is that any money awarded would go to cover legal costs and not damages), note where the money went. Of course, recovering the money spent in litigating a suit (especially if, as I gather is usual, only part of the costs are recovered) is not a benefit (which would make the ACLU not a beneficiary) as they would not be financially better off than when they started. But, I don’t see anything wrong with noting that there was cost recovery and the extent of cost recovery. The article used as a reference doesn’t say anything about awards and I gather the case was eventually settled voluntarily without any damages being awarded. So, I, to date, have seen nothing indicating a financial award at all (and certainly nothing about a financial benefit).--Reginod 15:00, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
I don't know whether there was a monetary award in the case or not, so I'd rather not speculate until we get the facts. But it is reasonable to assume that money was a motivator for both sides.
I disagree with you about saying that ACLU would not have been a beneficiary. The ACLU commonly collects fees as well as costs in cases like this. RSchlafly 15:21, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
Recovering costs (which you are absolutely right they often do) is not a benefit, it does not put the ACLU in a financially better position than they were in before the case began, if they recover all costs (a rarity at best) they are in the same position they were before the case began (not taking into account the time value of money or inflation). I’m also not sure why we can assume money was a motivator for both sides, the ACLU is a not-for-profit entity and I’ve never seen anyone claim that they are driven by a profit motive (I’ve seen lots of accusations about their motives, but that is not one I’ve ever heard).
But we are getting off track, the sources used in this article clearly support the claim that the suit was brought on behalf of the parents, you do not to want to include that information because the ACLU may have benefited as well—I fail to see why the latter claim would preclude including the former fact, but even if the latter claim would preclude including the former fact failure to include the former fact now is acting as if the latter claim is true—that is, it is acting on speculation, which is exactly what you want to avoid.--Reginod 15:32, 2 April 2007 (EDT)


Motivations: Here is a press release that indicates what the ACLU claims its motive was, and which supports my reading of their motivation, http://www.aclu.org/religion/intelligentdesign/27745prs20061219.html . --Reginod 15:13, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
I don't see how that ACLU press release supports your claims about the ACLU's motivations. It doesn't say whether it recruited the parents to be plaintiffs, and it doesn't say whether the ACLU collected a monetary award. You said the ACLU's motivation was not that they were "dogmatic evolutionists". But the press release brags about how it is a victory for evolution, and how it had a victory for evolution in another case. It says practically nothing about religious issues. RSchlafly 15:28, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
The relevant passages are:
“In 2005, the district court sided with the ACLU, stating that “the sticker sends a message to those who oppose evolution for religious reasons that they are favored members of the political community, while the sticker sends a message to those who believe in evolution that they are political outsiders.” –using the language of one of the key establishment clause tests and emphasizing the religious motivation of the sticker.
And
“The settlement brings to an end a long battle to keep our science classes free of political or religious agendas” – quoting the lead parent on the case and emphasizing the religious motivation behind the stickers.
I think you are reading too much into the press release, it never uses the phrase “victory for evolution” and in referencing the Dover case it reaffirms that the issue was the establishment clause (as that case was fought entirely on establishment clause grounds).
As far as the monetary issue goes, I was only pointing to this for evidence of motive. I had posted it before you had even begun suggesting that the real motive was money which still strikes me as an odd claim – and which I see no evidence for.--Reginod 15:40, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
I am reading too much into the ACLU press release? Okay, let me know whether you find any real evidence of ACLU motives. I'd like to stick to facts. RSchlafly 15:54, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
Fact: the ACLU sued on Establishment Clause grounds.
Fact: the case was argued on Establishment Clause grounds.
Fact: the case was decided on Establishment Clause grounds.
Fact: The press release I pointed to grouped the case with a second case which the ACLU sued, argued, and won on Establishment Clause grounds.
Fact: The press release is on the “Religion and Belief” section of the ACLU page.
Add all that to the quotes above and I feel I’ve made a fairly strong case.
But, I did a bit more research and found a second press release from the ACLU[3]. In this earlier press release the ACLU makes clear that they see the stickers as a response to an unsuccessful attempt to ban the teaching of evolution altogether on religious grounds. They go on to state that the stickers are designed to endorse a religious belief, and then to point out that the teaching of creationism has been ruled unconstitutional (they don’t point out, as it doesn’t need to be pointed out in their press release that the reason creationism can’t be taught in schools is not that the Supreme Court loves evolution, but because they see it as a violation of the Establishment Clause). The press release has at the bottom of it a link to the ACLU’s pre-trial brief in this case [4], which also provides strong support that this case was motivated by Establishment Clause concerns.
I hope that is sufficient support for this point.--Reginod 17:44, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

For an egregious claim like, "The ACLU recruited the plaintiffs," the burden of proof is on you, Rogy, not us.-AmesGyo! 15:36, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

RSchlafly, thank you for addressing my points 1, 2, and 3 (see above, originally raised by Reginod) in your edits. I think this section is much improved. However, I have a few other concerns. As to (3), there needs to be a citation that actually includes the text on the stickers, preferably one that is on-line. Here is one possibility. [5] (4) "The ACLU filed a lawsuit", I could be wrong but isn't that like saying "Lawyer Smith filed a lawsuit", when the client is Mr. Jones? Again, let's be precise as to the ACLU's role. (5) From what I've read, in the article Reginod cited and in the judge's decision, it does seem like the ACLU (as well as the judge) saw this case as an Establishment Clause issue, as well as a problem with the Georgia Constitution's Separation of Church and State clause. The title "ACLU and Evolution" might make more sense as a subtitle within the "ACLU and the Establishment Clause" section, though I don't know if that is possible, format-wise. Lacking that option, I think this paragraph needs to be put in the Establishment section, with the Evolution header eliminated. It would also read better there, as the Establishment section already refers to the case (Selman v. Cobb County). Another option would be to separate each case in the Establishment heading into its own section, but I like the Establishment heading as that is the general principle that relates these cases. (6) In addition, let me again urge you to insert a link to the judge's findings in Selman v. Cobb County (here is one [6]), so that students may read his decision for themselves. Since it is easily available on-line, there is really no reason not to include this essential source for anyone who is trying to understand the case. It would be extremely useful for students who are studying the case. Also, here is a link to the Kitzmiller decision that should be added to our article. [7] It is long but well worth reading. (7) One more suggestion, if I may. Six of the references have only the link title. If the title of the page or article was included inside the reference tags, (ideally after the first ref tag but before the bracket that starts the link), it would show up in the reference section, making it easier for interested students to decide which references they'd like to read. It should be fairly quick work to insert these titles. Thank you for your attention to these issues. --Hsmom 15:58, 2 April 2007 (EDT)

I can add text to add detail, but I have some problems with your suggestions. The CNN story is out-of-date, and gives the wrong impression about the outcome of the case. The trial court decision would be misleading without also having the appeals court decision. Even the ACLU press release does not claim that it was motivated by religious freedom. It cites a complaint that "the sticker sends a message to those who believe in evolution that they are political outsiders." This makes it sound like the ACLU may have been motivated to send a message that evolutionists are political insiders. I suppose that I can add a comment about the ACLU motivations, but I am not sure what the point would be. RSchlafly 21:52, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
The standard language of the Establishment Clause (or one set of standard language) is that the government may not send the message to one religious group “you are insiders” and send the message to other groups “you are outsiders”. The ACLU, here, complained that the stickers sent the message to Biblical Literalists the “you are insiders” and the message to believers in evolution “you are outsiders”, the sought remedy was not to switch who got which message, but to prevent either message from being sent.--Reginod 23:46, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
I combined the evolution cases in one section, and added a couple of sentences on ACLU motivation. RSchlafly 01:36, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
I am not sure what to make of the new section—it seems to incorporate a number of your unsupported assertions about the ACLU’s motivation and to confuse the points that I was trying to make. I assume this is because I was less than clear about my concerns in my discussion. I will try again in a new section below (I’m going to start a new section of the talk page, to try to be very clear about what the issues I see are).--Reginod 08:40, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

ACLU and Evolution v. 2.0

The current version of the section “ACLU and Evolution” has a number of problems that I would like to see fixed. I’ve tried to separate the concerns I have out into individual points so that they can be discussed on a point by point basis.

  1. The reference for the first sentence does not contain the full text of the sticker, which means it does not contain the direct quote it is alleged to contain. The reference should therefore be changed. I believe that a commentator above linked to a reference that would support the full text—if that is the case the suggested reference should be placed where the incorrect reference currently is.
  2. The second sentence contains the word “ostensibly” suggesting that there were hidden motives. However, no credible source has been proposed, let alone given, for the existence of those hidden motives.
  3. The description of the parents as “indignant” in the second sentence downplays the harm alleged and ascribes to the parents a mental state that I have seen no source for. I would suggest replacing “indignant parents” with “parents of students who would have been exposed to the sticker”.
  4. The phrase “but any monetary award would have been paid to the ACLU” (especially after “ostensibly”—see above) is used to suggest a motive for the ACLU that no source has been suggested for let alone provided to support. It should be removed for that reason.
  5. The phrase ““but any monetary award would have been paid to the ACLU” is (as far as I can tell) false. In the Dover case most of the recovered costs went to Pepper Hamilton, and there as here, the ACLU filed alongside a number of other entities. In general, the recovery is – at the very least – split between entities, and generally more of the cost recovery goes to the corporate firm on the case than the not-for-profit. The first ACLU press release indicates that there were 2 law firms and 1 other not for profit on the case with them.
  6. The word “suggested” in the penultimate sentence of the first paragraph is inaccurate proceeding a direct quote the press release “said” or the ACLU “said” would be more accurate and so it should be replaced on those grounds.
  7. The word “suggested” in the penultimate sentence of the first paragraph combined with the other problematic language of the paragraph adds to the unsupported suggestion of sinister and hidden ulterior motives and so it should be replaced on those grounds.
  8. The phrase “to stop any message that evolutionists are political outsiders” is inaccurate, as explained above—Evolutionists as outsiders is not a cognizable harm, Biblical Literalists as insiders is. The phrasing I would like to see here is “to prevent the school board from endorsing a particular religious message” or “to prevent the school board from endorsing Creationism” or “to prevent the school board from endorsing Biblical Literalism”.
  9. The last sentence of the first paragraph, “But the ACLU may have also been in the case just for a million-dollar judgment”, is used to support the existence of an alleged motive that there is no suggestion of anywhere in any of the sources provided. It also perpetuates the misunderstandings about awards in these cases discussed above.
  10. The penultimate sentence of the second paragraph currently reads “cited on”, that should be replaced with “relied on” or “cited”.
  11. The reference supporting the last sentence of the last paragraph cites to the US law that would justify the judge’s award, but does not support the specific claim of “over $2,000,000”, a more accurate reference should be found.
  12. The last sentence of the last paragraph is misleading as the paragraph never mentions who the plaintiffs in the case were—again they were local parents, not the ACLU—and as it never mentions that the award used to pay costs was divided among all the representatives of the plaintiff (again the majority, here, went to Pepper Hamilton).

I think that covers my concerns about the section as it stands; thank you for taking the time to read it and consider my concerns.--Reginod 08:42, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

Reginod, you and Hsmom asked me to include text on the ACLU motives. I was reluctant, because the evidence for ACLU motives is indirect. But I included it, and now you complain about it! In response:
  1. The suggested reference was out of date.
  2. The lawsuit was not just to benefit the parents. Even the ACLU says that.
  3. Do you have some evidence that the parents were harmed, besides just being indignant? There weren't.
  4. The ACLU did ask for money for itself. I am stating a fact. Yes, when someone asks for money

it suggests that he wants money.

  1. Okay, I'll change to "paid to the ACLU and its lawyers".
  2. I said "suggested" because the press release does not explicitly say what the ACLU motives were.
  3. I let the reader decide for himself whether the motives were sinister.
  4. I copied that language from the ACLU press release. Maybe you disagree with it, but the

article refers to ACLU motives, not what you think that the motives ought to have been.

  1. Yes, the ACLU may have just wanted the money. Do you dispute that? Does the ACLU deny it?

I still don't know how much the ACLU made on the deal, but it made $2M on the Kitzmiller case.

  1. You are right. Fixed.
  2. Okay, if you have a good cite, I'll add it.
  3. You are right. I changed it to "ACLU lawyers", as the plaintiffs did not get the money. RSchlafly 13:10, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
      • RSchlafly, thanks for all the time you are spending to try to improve this article. I'm glad I am able to be of help. Here is a little input on your previous comments.
--The CNN story is out-of-date, and gives the wrong impression about the outcome of the case. I understand your concern. Let's choose another on-line reference which contains the text. The decision in the original case [8] would do, but there are probably many others to choose from. If you choose a NYTimes article, please post the URL for those who wish to read it.
--The trial court decision would be misleading without also having the appeals court decision. Agreed. Let's have both. And here is the agreement that ended the case. [9] And here is an Amicus brief [10].
--Even the ACLU press release does not claim that it was motivated by religious freedom. The Establishment clause *is* about religious freedom. Establishment cases are religious freedom cases. The Establishment clause prevents the American Government from establishing an official state religion (and thus implying that only the official state religion is legit, and implying that other religions are lesser and/or false).
--Even the ACLU press release does not claim that it was motivated by religious freedom. It cites a complaint that "the sticker sends a message to those who believe in evolution that they are political outsiders." This makes it sound like the ACLU may have been motivated to send a message that evolutionists are political insiders. I know this wording sounds kind of wierd. It *is* hard to understand - it's in "lawyer-speak", which doesn't always translate well to the rest of us. I believe this language comes from previous court decisions, and is about how to tell when the Establishment clause is being violated. I think you are misunderstanding what they are saying. They are definately referring to religious freedom when they are relying on the Establishment clause.
--I suppose that I can add a comment about the ACLU motivations, but I am not sure what the point would be. The ACLU was motivated to help out with the case because part of their mission is to argue cases where they believe the Establishment clause is being violated. They may or may not have had other motivations, but this is clearly their primary motive. Quite simply, it's one of the primary missions of the organization.
--The lawsuit was not just to benefit the parents. Even the ACLU says that. Do you have some evidence that the parents were harmed, besides just being indignant? There weren't. The lawsuit was to benefit the *children* - to prevent them from being exposed to state-sponsored religious messages.
--The ACLU did ask for money for itself. I am stating a fact. Yes, when someone asks for money it suggests that he wants money. I'm sorry, I just don't have time to address this part of the topic today. Suffice it to say that there are many such non-profit organizations which take on cases to advance their beliefs, without charging their clients by the hour for their time. As an example, HSLDA (the Home School Legal Defense Association), takes on cases on behalf of homeschooling families where the HSLDA believes the govenment is behaving unconstitutionally towards the homeschoolers. In such cases, it is normal for the court to award legal fees to the winner, to be paid by the loser. This method helps the "little guy" be able to sue when his rights are being stepped on, and also helps make sure that organizations like ACLU and HSLDA only take on cases where they have a good chance of winning (because otherwise their investment is lost).--Hsmom 16:52, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
RSchlafly, I fear that for the most part I am unsatisfied with the responses given so far. I shall, therefore, take a second stab at explaining my points and my continued dissatisfaction. I believe that most of my concerns (and all of my concerns about the first paragraph) would be corrected by adopting the version proposed by Hsmom in “ACLU and Evolution v. 3.0” below, but I think until that paragraph is adopted it is worth explaining my positions again.
  1. That there is not a good reference available for a point does not excuse the use of a false reference. A direct quote has to be in the reference used to support it. If you don’t have a reference with the direct quote in it the thing to do is not to leave the quote in with a reference to an article many people won’t bother to look at on the assumption that you are right. To leave a reference in the article that you have been repeatedly been told does not support the direct quote (and that you can easily confirm does not support the direct quote) is, at best, dishonest.
  2. If the ACLU says they did it for other reasons then “ostensibly” is false, the phrase you want there is “among other reasons” (feel free to list any motive the ACLU actually said it had—with a reference).
  3. The court heard the case. Indignation is not a cognizable harm. Therefore there was more harm than mere indignation. Further—they alleged a violation of their constitutional rights, that is more harm then simple indignation, it is an infringement on their liberty, a grave harm.
  4. There are three problems with your response here. First, people often ask for things without being motivated by them—this is a common negotiating technique, ask for more than you want then settle for what you actually want. Second, you have yet to provide any support for your claim that the ACLU asked for money after a discussion this long if it was a clear fact you could provide a reference for it. Third, I think that what they asked for was reimbursement, which is a very specific kind of money (the kind that can’t motivate a rational actor), and so your claim is misleading at best.
  5. This should not read “the ACLU and its lawyers” it should read “the ACLU and other organizations and firms representing the plaintiffs”. Pepper Hamilton is its own firm, which worked the case alongside the ACLU, but not for it.
  6. You provide a direct quote, that gets a “said” not a “suggested”. If they never came out and said it, how could you provide a direct quote?
  7. Letting the reader decide entails not pushing him to the conclusion you want. Neutral language lets the reader decide the language you have included pusses a conclusion.
  8. If copped from the press release it deserves a direct quote. But, either way you copped only half of the context. The full quote in the press release, which comes from the court ruling, is “the sticker sends a message to those who oppose evolution for religious reasons that they are favored members of the political community, while the sticker sends a message to those who believe in evolution that they are political outsiders.” Which clearly points to the religious aspect of this ruling—for all the reasons mentioned above.
  9. You are quite right the sentence “The ACLU may have just wanted the money” is literally true—for any entity capable of wanting it is possible that they just want money—but this is a vacuous claim because it applies to every one. “But Pat Robertson may just be in it for the money” – literally true, undeniably so, but it doesn’t belong in his article. “But the NRA may just be in it for the money” “But Isaac Newton may have just been in it for the money” etc. All literally true—it is possible that they were only motivated by greed, not probable or likely, but possible. Vacuous claims like this do not belong in any article on this site.
  10. Thank you.
  11. The burden is on the person making the claim to support it, not on the person asking for support. This is especially true for very specific claims, as are now in the article. If I look up the section of US code sighted I will not find that in this case over $2,067,000 was awarded. As is the reference does not support this clam and it should be taken out until someone provides a better source.
  12. Not all the money went to “ACLU lawyers” as explained above, much went to Pepper Hamilton lawyers who do not work for the ACLU.
I hope that makes my concerns clearer. --Reginod 09:18, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

Out of the closet

Well, I'm willing to cut the ACLU a check if they are dogmatic evolutionists who troll the country for good cases. I just thought I should make that clear. That being said, this site is a good place for open debate about the issue. However, factually speaking, that is NOT the primary mission of the ACLU. --PalMDtalk 15:38, 2 April 2007 (EDT)


"Million Dollar Fees"

Saying that the ACLU "may have just been in it for the million dollar fees" is preposterous. It's a not-for-profit that uses judgments to cover the costs it incurs, which are substantial. That statement on the article is characteristic of your POV-problem, Roger, but it's particularly egregious, even for you. It should be removed.-AmesGyo! 14:03, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

Do you have some evidence to the contrary? The ACLU asked for big fees in the case, and got them in the Kitzmiller case. I can document that. Yes, the ACLU is not-for-profit, but a not-for-profit can still take an action for money. RSchlafly 14:11, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

Again, since your claims are particularly egregious, they are the ones that need citations and support, not mine. If I say "the sky is blue" but you say "the sky is green & pink," the burden of proof is on you.-AmesGyo! 14:13, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

Do you know whether the ACLU got paid fees in the settlement? RSchlafly 15:48, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

Fees, yes, pursuant to the rules of procedure (28 U.S.C. 1988, cite's on this page already!!!!). But fees are different than damages. Damages were not available in the specific cause of action (Est. Clause violation enforced by 28 U.S.C. s 1983). Your change to the article is less misleading which is a step forward. However, you should delete the entire line about "however, they did not mention etc etc." It makes them sound like legal pirates, collecting surplusage fees, when in fact the awarding of fees is heavily restricted to actual, productable costs of litigation. The ACLU makes no "profit" from suits!-AmesGyo! 16:21, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

So how much did the ACLU collect? Why doesn't the ACLU say? Is it ashamed? I'd like to stick to facts here, but all I know is that the ACLU tried to get millions of dollars, and got some unspecified amount that the ACLU wants to keep secret. RSchlafly 16:42, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

All of this is argumentative, unfactual, and unencyclopedic. That's all that needs to be said, and it needs to be deleted. If you'd "like the facts" to include in the article, by all means, hunt them down, but until you have more than nonfactual, argumentative allegations of a nonprofit organization acting like a pirate, delete the sentence or at least put a {{fact-political}} tag on it!-AmesGyo! 16:48, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

You should add "pursuant to standard practice by 42 U.S.C. s 1988," because it's standard practice.-AmesGyo! 17:05, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
I just found the figure. ACLU collected $166k in the settlement. I added the figure. Now it is all factual and sourced. Now we have both Cobb County school decisions and the final outcome of the case, as well as the ACLU's claimed motivation from its own press release. Are you happy now? RSchlafly 17:14, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

Yes! Much better. I would add, though, that 42 U.S.C. 1988 routinely provides for fees in all 1983 actions.-AmesGyo! 17:19, 3 April 2007 (EDT)

ACLU & Evolution v. 3.0

Putting together various comments and concerns raised here by a number of different people, I have drafted a version of the Selman paragraph. Here is my reasoning, and the final product. I have put the citations only in the final version.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit, Selman v. Cobb County Sch. Dist., against a school district in Cobb County Georgia, Let's change this to "In 2004, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of some parents in the Cobb County, Georgia, School District." It makes it clear that the parents, not the ACLU, were the plaintiffs, eliminates some redundancy, brings in the date of the suit, and reads smoother.
for putting stickers in biology textbooks that said, "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered." This is fine, but to fit with the changes above, and to bring in the name of the suit and its basis, let's alter it to be a new sentence saying "In Selman v. Cobb County School District, the ACLU argued that the district had violated the Establishment clause of the Constitution by putting stickers in biology textbooks that said, "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."
The ACLU lawsuit was ostensibly in behalf of indignant parents, but any monetary award would be paid to the ACLU. This sentence essentially says "The lawyers filed the suit on behalf of the plaintiffs, but any attorneys fees awarded will be paid to the attorneys." Since this applies to any suit where lawyers represent plaintiffs, and where attorneys fees are awarded, and since we are only writing a brief description of the lawsuit, this sentence *only* makes sense if the fees awarded were in some way out of the ordinary, which doesn't seem to be the case. We have made it clear in the above sentences that ACLU filed on behalf of the parents, and will make the monetary award clear later on. This sentence should be removed.
The trial judge ruled in favor of the ACLU , but his ruling was vacated on appeal. This is a very nice, factual, well-referenced sentence, which should remain as-is: The trial judge ruled in favor of the ACLU,but his ruling was vacated on appeal.
The case was eventually settled, with the stickers being removed. This sentence is another good one. It should be altered to include the other conditions in the settlement, including an accurate figure for the attorney's fees: The case was eventually settled, with the school district agreeing to remove the stickers, to avoid censoring science textbooks or making disclaimers about evolution in the future, to teach the state Board of Education's core curriculum (which includes evolution), and to pay attorney's fees of $166,669.12.
An ACLU press release suggested that its motives were to "ensure that their children receive proper science education" and to stop any message that evolutionists are political outsiders. I think this sentence is awkward - it's got grammar problems (the ACLU's children?), and uses legal language that is hard for non-lawyers to understand. I think that rather than speculate about the ACLU's motives, we should focus on what they actually did.
But the ACLU did not mention that it also demanded huge attorney fees and collected $166,000 from the school district. This information was included in the sentence about the settlement, so we do not need it here.
So the entire paragraph reads: In 2004, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of some parents in the Cobb County, Georgia, School District. In Selman v. Cobb County School District, the ACLU argued that the district had violated the Establishment clause of the Constitution by putting stickers in biology textbooks that said, "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered." The trial judge ruled in favor of the ACLU [11],but his ruling was vacated on appeal.[12] The case was eventually settled, with the school district agreeing to remove the stickers, to avoid censoring science textbooks or making disclaimers about evolution in the future, to teach the state Board of Education's core curriculum (which includes evolution), and to pay attorney's fees of $166,669.12. [13] [14]

I welcome comments on this proposed version. --Hsmom 07:47, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

Hsmom thank you for doing this. The above work is exactly what is needed here. So, for the record:
I think this is a well written and well supported version of the first paragraph of the “evolution” section. I would suggest adding a reference after the second sentence (the one you provided above to the full text of the decision should be fine), and I think I would like to see mention of the other people representing the parents in the first sentence or some mention of the other lawyers after the case was remanded (“Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Atlanta law firm Bondurant, Mixon & Elmore, and Pepper Hamilton, a Philadelphia law firm, joined the ACLU of Georgia in handling the case on remand to the district court.” [15]. – this avoids the false impression that all of the settlement money went to the ACLU and adds information about the case) but other than that, I see nothing I would change in this paragraph.--Reginod 08:34, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

Here is an updated version, including Reginod's suggestions, clarifying the number of parents, including a few links to other conservapedia articles, and adding a few relevant references, including the ACLU's Pretrial Brief. Again, I welcome comments and suggestions. --Hsmom 09:12, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

(I have changed the below to say "reimburse" rather than "pay" and "attorneys' fees" rather than "attorney's fees", as per Reginod's point above.)--Hsmom 09:44, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
In 2004, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of five parents in the Cobb County, Georgia, School District.[16] In Selman v. Cobb County School District, the ACLU argued [17] that the district had violated the Establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution by putting stickers in biology textbooks that said, "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."[18] The trial judge ruled in favor of the ACLU [19],but his ruling was vacated on appeal.[20] Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Atlanta law firm Bondurant, Mixon & Elmore, and Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton joined the ACLU of Georgia in handling the case on remand to the district court. [21] The case was eventually settled, with the school district agreeing to remove the stickers, to avoid censoring science textbooks or making disclaimers about evolution in the future, to teach the state Board of Education's core curriculum (which includes evolution), and to reimburse attorneys' fees of $166,669.12. [22] [23]

I have several problems with the proposal. Saying "on behalf of a group of five parents" is misleading because it was not the parents who were going to get the money. The name of the law firm seems like a trivial detail. Saying "to avoid censoring science textbooks" is misleading because no science textbooks were ever censored. Besides, implying a motivation to stop censoring contradicts the earlier implication that the Establishment Clause was the motivation. Finally, "reimburse" is inaccurate unless you can show that the ACLU already paid that money. In fact, the cited sources do not say that the money was reimbursed. RSchlafly 11:26, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

On behalf of a group of five parents is a 100% accurate use of the language. It is literally true and conveys exactly the information it should to those who are even passing familiar with the language of American law. If a few people are confused because they don’t understand how words are used in American courts, they have access to dictionaries and an article could be created if a big need is seen. That the parents would not recover any money awarded is a result of their choice to sue for injunctive relief rather than damages and it was the parents who would benefit from that relief—the relief sought. The issue of monetary awards is irrelevant in terms of who the case was brought on the behalf of.

The claim that the name of the law firm is a trivial detail is in direct contradiction to the first point you made—the law firm is who got the money, not the ACLU. If we are going to talk about the monetary award the name of the people who actually got the award is relevant.
The claim that “no textbooks were ever censored” if false. Before the stickers were placed in the textbooks, the students were given copies of the textbook where the pages dealing with evolution were blanked out. The stickers were put in to replace the old policy of censorship and so the settlement had to make clear that the school board did not adopt the old (censorship) policy as a result of agreeing to stop the new (non-censorship) policy. If you want to put the claim in context, a sentence on Cobb County’s history of censorship could be added.
One can violate the Establishment Clause by censorship. If I forbid one form of speech and no other on the grounds of religion I violate the Establishment Clause – if I (as a state actor) say because I believe this religious proposition you may not say this, then I am violating the Establishment Clause.
“Reimbursed” you are right is the wrong word, the term should be “recovered” which is the legal language. --Reginod 11:50, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
You say that "On behalf of a group of five parents is a 100% accurate" because people can figure out the rest, but why not tell them? The current version is 100% accurate, and tells a more complete story of who the beneficiaries were.
I don't want to imply that Pepper Hamilton got all the money unless you can prove that they did. I doubt it.
The lawsuit was not about blanking pages, and it is misleading to pretend that it was. RSchlafly 11:59, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
I’m not objecting to telling people the rest I am objecting to the statement that “"on behalf of a group of five parents" is misleading because it was not the parents who were going to get the money”. Of course we should say that the money didn’t go to the parents, I don’t object to that, I object to your refusal to indicate who the case was actually brought on behalf of.
The current version of the article is not 100% accurate as I have pointed out repeatedly above. (For easy proof of this – it contains at least two false and misleading citations).
I’ll get back to you on the distribution of the funds but your source says: “The agreement specifies the board will not use such disclaimers in the future and commits the board to pay around $166,000 in attorney fees for the plaintiffs.” Not to the ACLU, that is to all the attorneys, until you get a source that says all the money went to the ACLU it is hiding facts to refuse to mention the other lawyers for the plaintiffs.
As a side note it seems that “huge” attorneys fees when they totaled about $55,000 more than what the School Board spent on their own lawyers is misleading, being that close in actual costs is fairly reasonable.
No one is pretending that the blanked pages were part of the lawsuit, but they were clearly part of the settlement and there is no reason to keep that fact out of the article(and to turn the point as you have tried to here, is to ignore the fact that you claimed that the censorship statement was irrelevant as there had never been censorship which there clearly had been).--Reginod 12:14, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
See here [24] for how fees are handled. That should be sufficient to illustrate that not all of the money went to the ACLU and that the inclusion of other representatives for the plaintiffs is relevant.--Reginod 12:46, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
I added "for its lawyers" to clarify that the money went to the ACLU lawyers. The article already says that the lawsuit was in the name of the parents, so I am not sure what that complaint is. Is it that you want to omit the fact that the parents were not going to get any of the money? RSchlafly 12:50, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
The lawyers at Pepper Hamilton are not the ACLU’s lawyers. Neither are the lawyers at Bondurant, Mixon & Elmore, or the lawyers at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The most recent change to the page does not add any clarity (I think it tends to obfuscate). It certainly does not address my concerns.
As far as your question goes, I think I answered that above—I wrote “Of course we should say that the money didn’t go to the parents, I don’t object to that, I object to your refusal to indicate who the case was actually brought on behalf of.”--Reginod 12:53, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
I thought that the Pepper Hamilton lawyers were working for the ACLU. Do you have any evidence otherwise? Who hired Pepper Hamilton? Who told them what to do, if not the ACLU?
The article does indeed "indicate who the case was actually brought on behalf of". The beneficiaries were the parents and the ACLU. Do you want to also mention Americans United for Separation of Church and State? RSchlafly 13:33, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
They were working alongside the ACLU lawyers, they made decisions in concert (though they were the lead lawyers in Dover). Pepper Hamilton joined the case pro bono (In the case of the Cobb County stickers because of their experience in Dover, in the case of Dover because they are a big Pennsylvania firm). You keep moving the goalposts here—I’ve shown that the ACLU was not the only organization involved in the case, so you demand that I show that they didn’t get all the money, so I showed that Pepper Hamilton got some of the money and now you are demanding that I show that they were not working for the ACLU. I think the articles I’ve linked to already show that.
The article still has the objectionable sentence, and I’ve explained why I think it is false and misleading. Beneficiaries is not the right word, the case was brought on behalf of the parents independent of who benefited and the ACLU would not and did not receive all of the money.--Reginod 13:42, 4 April 2007 (EDT)


RSchlafly, thank you for your input. I will try to incorporate your concerns, so that we have a version we can all agree on.

Saying "on behalf of a group of five parents" is misleading because it was not the parents who were going to get the money. It's the parents who were going to get the legal relief - they were going to get the district to stop altering the science textbooks. Let me try to explain. Sometimes, people sue for money. Other times, they sue to get someone to stop doing something. If, for example, I left some slippery stuff on the sidewalk in front of my house, and you slipped on it and permantly damaged your legs so badly you couldn't walk, and therefore couldn't work, then you would sue me for money to compensate your for your lost wages (damages), plus you would also ask the judge to have me give you money to pay your lawyers, so you wouldn't be out-of-pocket for getting me to do the right thing (legal fees). That kind of case is a "damages" case. In this case, however, the parents asked the judge to get the district to stop infringing on their constitutional rights, and to have the district give them legal fees - money to pay their lawyers so they wouldn't be out-of-pocket for having to defend their rights. This is an "injunctive relief" case - there are no damages. The parents didn't sue to get the money, they sued to get the district to stop altering the science books. The money went to pay the parents' legal fees. This is totally normal in these cases, but it's not generally a profit-making thing. The lawyers are paid for expenses they have already incurred in working on the case. Sometimes in a damages case the lawyers also get a percentage of the damages money, but it didn't happen in this case (because there was no damages money). The lawyers just got paid for their work in defending the parents' constitutional rights. I can understand that this is a pivotal point in your understanding of the case, so it might be a hard one to wrap your head around - this legal stuff isn't easy. It's very important, though - if you still don't understand, ask again, and I'll try to explain it again.
The name of the law firm seems like a trivial detail. It would be if we didn't go into the money part of things. However, since we are addressing the money, it is important because it explains that there were actually four organizations working on this case on behalf of the parents - two non-profits (the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State), plus two law firms (Atlanta law firm Bondurant, Mixon & Elmore, and Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton). Any legal fees awarded would be distributed between all four organizations. Since this is an article on the AcLU, and since we have brought up the money, and since there has been significant misunderstanding about the money (who got it and why), it's important to be clear that the ACLU didn't pocket all $166,669.12.
Saying "to avoid censoring science textbooks" is misleading because no science textbooks were ever censored. I agree that this is probably a bad choice of words. I was trying to both summarize the lengthy settlement agreement and to put it in non-lawyerese -- words that high school students would have no problem understanding. The original settlement said "excising or redacting", rather than censoring - I thought these words might be unfamiliar to the average reader of Conservapedia. Here is the text from the two main points of the settlement - perhaps we can together find better phrasing. Perhaps "altering"?
(1)Defendants, their officers, agents, successors, servants, employees, attorneys, and anyone acting in concert with them are enjoined from restoring to the science textbooks of students in the Cobb County schools any stickers, labels, stamps, inscriptions, or other warnings or disclaimers bearing language substantially similar to that used on the sticker that is the subject of this action.
(2) Defendants, their officers, agents, successors, servants, employees, attorneys, and anyone acting in concert with them are further enjoined from taking the following actions that would prevent or hinder the teaching of evolution in the School District:
a. making any disclaimers regarding evolution orally, in writing, or by any other means;
b. placing on students’ science textbooks any stickers, labels, stamps, inscriptions, or other warnings or disclaimers referring or relating to evolution or Charles Darwin;
c. placing on students’ science textbooks any stickers, labels, stamps, inscriptions, or other statements relating to creationism,creation science, intelligent design, or any other religious view concerning the origins of life or the origins of human beings;
d. excising or redacting materials on evolution in students’ science textbooks; or
e. violating Georgia Code § 20-2-140, as amended, which requires that local school boards adopt the State Board of Education’s “uniformly sequenced core curriculum as the basis for its own curriculum,” including the state’s requirements with respect to the teaching of evolution, and Georgia Code § 20-2-142, as amended, which deems each local schoolboard “responsible for ensuring that,” among other things, “the uniformly sequenced core curriculum . . . [is] fully and effectively implemented.”
Besides, implying a motivation to stop censoring contradicts the earlier implication that the Establishment Clause was the motivation. Censoring would be a violation of the Establishment clause - you might want to read over the legal papers in the case to understand this important point - I know it's hard to slog through the legalese, but see if you can understand the argument they are making - *how* the stickers were a violation of the Establishment clause (and how censorship would be the same kind of violation). This is the key point of this suit, and it's really critical to be able to understand their argument. This will really help you to understand the case and the points we are discussing here.
Finally, "reimburse" is inaccurate unless you can show that the ACLU already paid that money. In fact, the cited sources do not say that the money was reimbursed. . I see that "recovered" is the correct term here, but the meaning is essentially the same. The basic idea is that the money is to cover the lawyer's fees & expenses. They *did* already pay that money - they paid the salaries of the lawyers from all four organizations for their time spent working on the case, as well as support staff salaries and other overhead costs. I'm guessing that's why the amount of money is so odd (twelve cents!) - because it is based on actual billable hours.
So here is the new version. I'm not sure if I got the "recover" phrasing right - Reginod, could you tweak it? I changed "censoring" to "altering". Please continue to pick this apart. RSchlafly, if you are still confused about the money or the motivation for the suit, please ask again and we'll do our best to help you understand. Let's continue to work together to get something we can all agree upon. --Hsmom 14:01, 4 April 2007 (EDT)


In 2004, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of five parents in the Cobb County, Georgia, School District.[25] In Selman v. Cobb County School District, the ACLU argued [26] that the district had violated the Establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution by putting stickers in biology textbooks that said, "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."[27] The trial judge ruled in favor of the ACLU [28],but his ruling was vacated on appeal.[29] Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Atlanta law firm Bondurant, Mixon & Elmore, and Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton joined the ACLU of Georgia in handling the case on remand to the district court. [30] The case was eventually settled, with the school district agreeing to remove the stickers, to avoid altering science textbooks or making disclaimers about evolution in the future, to teach the state Board of Education's core curriculum (which includes evolution), and to recover attorneys' fees of $166,669.12. [31] [32]
It is misleading to just say "on behalf of a group of five parents" when the terms of the lawsuit were such that the ACLU would get the money. It is misleading to imply that the Establishment Clause was the main motive when the ACLU's own press releases emphasize scientific issues that have nothing to do with religion. It is silly to even mention firms that were going to be involved in a remanded trial that never happened. The link to the actual settlement is useful, and should be added. You still make arguments about money that was paid, but you have no evidence that any money was paid before the settlement, or that any settlement money went to anyone but ACLU lawyers. RSchlafly 14:18, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

My thoughts -- I have a few questions I'd like to ask you - I'm really confused about some of your concerns, and I'm trying to understand. If you could answer a few of my questions it might help me to get what you are trying to say:

It is misleading to just say "on behalf of a group of five parents" when the terms of the lawsuit were such that the ACLU would get the money. I see that this bothers you a lot, but I'm not sure I understand why it is misleading. Could you try to explain a bit? I know it seems obvious to you but it isn't to me. I am trying to understand! When we say "the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of five parents", I had assumed that most people would understand that the ACLU folks were the lawyers, and the parents were the plaintiffs. Do you think that is unclear who is who? Is there another way to say it to make that clear? Or is your concern not so much which are the lawyers and which are the plaintifs but more about who the money was awarded to? Since we say "attorneys' fees of $166,669.12", doesn't that make it clear that the money goes to the lawyers? Or is there another way to read this? I'm not being deliberately obtuse, I genuinely don't understand how this phrasing is misleading or unclear. How would you prefer we phrase it?
It is misleading to imply that the Establishment Clause was the main motive when the ACLU's own press releases emphasize scientific issues that have nothing to do with religion. I don't think we've implied *motive* at all, we've tried to stick to the facts. We stated "the ACLU argued that the district had violated the Establishment clause". Do you agree that they argued the case on this basis, or do you think they argued it on other grounds? Are you saying that they had a different motive than protecting the plaintiff's Constitutional rights? I'm getting the impression that you think the ACLU had some other motive, that was somehow a lot more important than the Establishment issue, but I'm confused about what you think it might have been. The ACLU has a long history of taking on Establishment cases - it's kind of what they do, so it seems odd to think that they had some other overriding reason for taking the case. (Science comes into it, of course - you couldn't argue this case without talking about science - but it's *because* the case is partly about "what is science" vs. "what is religion" that it *is* an Establishment case, if you see what I mean. Was the sticker a statement about science? Or about religion? If the latter, that creates an Establishment issue. If the former, then there is no Establishment issue. That's what they were arguing about.) Can you suggest another way to write this sentence to describe the basis on which the ACLu argued this case?
It is silly to even mention firms that were going to be involved in a remanded trial that never happened. The ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and Bondurant, Mixon & Elmore were all specifically mentioned in the settlement, and the money was actually handled by (paid to) Bondurant, Mixon & Elmore, so if we are including the money (which seems to be important to you), then I don't understand why we wouldn't mention the firms who were presumably the ones who got some of the money. Wouldn't it be even more misleading to imply that the ACLU got all of the money? I'm trying to understand your thoughts here.
The link to the actual settlement is useful, and should be added. I agree, and I did add it, several versions ago - it is one of the two citations on the last sentence. See the references section. It's a little confusing because the press release from the district is the first part of the document, but it's followed by the settlement.
You still make arguments about money that was paid, but you have no evidence that any money was paid before the settlement, or that any settlement money went to anyone but ACLU lawyers. You've read the settlement, right? The money was initially paid to the Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore, LLP Trust Account, not the ACLU. I don't know how it was distributed after that - perhaps you can find some info on that? Again, I'm trying to understand, but I'm just not sure what you're getting at. Why *wouldn't* it be distributed to the various organizations that had worked on the case, of course in proportion to their contribution? Isn't that what attorneys' fees awards are *for*? Law firms and non-profits like the ACLU (or HSLDA, etc.) often take on cases and incur expenses that don't get covered until after the case is finished. They pay their employees up front, then hope to be reimbursed if/when they win the case. It's how they do business. They only take cases they think they have a strong chance of winning, because otherwise they have to pay their employees *without* being reimbursed by the defendants. Are you saying that it didn't cost the ACLU anything to work on this case, so they shouldn't be entitled to any attorneys' fees? Or are you saying they got more money than they spent? Obviously they incurred expenses - they have to pay their lawyers and their support staff and so on who are working on the case - writing the arguments, filing the paperwork, etc. I'm not sure what you think the money in the case was for - could you try to explain that a bit? Again, I'm not being deliberately obtuse, I'm just having a hard time understanding your concerns.
Thank you for continuing to listen to my concerns and those of others here, and for trying to understand what we are saying. I will continue to try to understand your concerns, so hopefully we will be able to find language we can agree on. Perhaps if you wrote a little more - expanded on your thoughts a bit, explained things the way you would to a student who didn't understand, perhaps, instead of just writing one sentence to describe your concerns - it would help me to see things from your perspective and understand your position. --Hsmom 20:50, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
Usually a plaintiff hires a lawyer to file a lawyer, and collect damages that are paid to the plaintiff. The plaintiff pays the lawyer either in cash up front, or out of the take. But these 28 USC 1988 ACLU lawsuits don't work that way, and I don't think that the reader is going to understand that. So that's why I insist on saying who gets the money.
I didn't want to say anything about ACLU motives, but you (Hsmom) and Reginod asked for it. As evidence, we have the complaint, the settlement, and the ACLU press release. I think that it is fair to say that if the ACLU demanded something and got it, then it was part of the ACLU motivations. What else is there to be said?
Apparently the ACLU hired some other law firms, and divvied up the money in some unknown manner. Unless we know the details, I don't see how this info is useful. Maybe the ACLU paid out most of the money to firms working for the ACLU, or maybe not. Even if the ACLU did, it is still correct to say that the money went to ACLU lawyers.
I will add the link to the settlement. RSchlafly 23:50, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
I think I see where you are coming from on the 18 USC §1988 point here—my concern is that 1—all 18 USC §1988 lawsuits work this way (not just ACLU filed ones)—2—if you are going to explain who gets the money under these suits it seems that you need to explain why (namely when the state violates your Constitutional rights often there are no monetary damages that can be recoveries, so without the fee recovery rule you couldn’t get a lawyer to help you protect your rights (the statute dates back to the 1964 Civil Rights Act))—and 3—As the article stands you are not explaining how 18 USC §1988 lawsuits work you are simply saying ACLU could get millions of dollars (which is not how the statute works, they can only recover costs).
I personally would be fine with no mention of motives, but the article had inaccurate discussion of motives in it. If there is going to be mention of motives I want them to be accurate.
The ACLU did not “hire” other law firms, they were joined—that means the other law firms either asked to help (almost certainly because some of their lawyers thought this would be a good pro bono case to work on) or because the plaintiffs asked them to do so (this is the less likely option but since I don’t know which it is I figured I’d throw it out there). --Reginod 08:54, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Unless someone actually knows the business relationship between the ACLU and these other firms and has some reason to think that it is significant, then I don't see how it can go into the article. RSchlafly 09:53, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
I know the other firms got some of the money (the money that you think is incredibly important) and I know that they joined the case (which means they were not hired by the ACLU) – all of this is in the references that Hsmom and I have provided already—all I don’t know is whether they asked to join the case or whether they were asked to join the case (hardly a relevant point, we don’t even know whether the ACLU was asked to file the case or whether they asked to file the case).--Reginod 09:57, 5 April 2007 (EDT)


RSchlafly, I think I'm starting to get it. You want to make it clear to the readers that instead of the parents getting the money and giving some of it to the ACLU, the money goes directly to the lawyers. I think we can convey this idea, while still being accurate about who filed the suit, and leaving out any words that imply there was improper or unusual behavior. The current wording I'm concerned about is The ACLU filed a lawsuit, ... The ACLU lawsuit was ostensibly in behalf of indignant parents, but any monetary award would be paid to the ACLU. ...But the ACLU did not mention that it also demanded huge attorney fees...

First of all, it was not the ACLU who filed the suit, the ACLU filed *on behalf of* the parents. ("Ostensiby" implies that the ACLU were just using the parents to get the money, rather than them taking the case because their mission is to take on Establishment cases. This has not been proven and thus should not be implied. We are including the financial information so that anyone who has concerns in that area has the facts and can draw their own conclusions.) "*On behalf of* the parents" is the proper way to say it. However, I think we can also clarify that the ACLU would get the money.
I don't think we need to say the parents were "indignant" - more importantly, they felt their Constitutional rights were being violated, which is why they filed the suit - I don't think we need to comment at all beyond saying they filed the suit. "Indignant" trivializes the issue.
The attorney fees were not "huge" - they seem to me to be pretty normal for cases like this one. "Demanded" also implies that the ACLU was asking for something out of the ordinary, when in fact it is normal - even routine - to have attorneys' fees awarded in these cases - as Reginod pointed out, it is critical to have this provision in cases like these so that everyone has the means to bring these cases and enforce their constitutional rights (assuming they have a case strong enough to get a lawyer to take on).
As to motives - the way I read the current article, it implies that the ACLU brought the case so they could get the money. If we take out this implication, I will be happy with no other mention of motive.
So, I've changed my suggested version, generally combining your concerns with mine and Reginod's. I've inserted an objective sentence explaining that the ACLU would get the money - if anyone has a good reference explaining how these cases work, I'd be happy to add it. I've eliminated discussion of motive. I've tried to create neutral language. I put in a full representation of the settlement, summarizing each of the conditions. I've included the quote from the settlement you used in your version of the article. And I did leave in the lawyers, so that we aren't inaccurately implying that the ACLU was the only one getting the money, as per Reginod's concerns - we can discuss this in the context of this new version if you still don't like it being there. I've included all the references we've agreed upon so far (with full titles, so that the reader doesn't just get a meaningless URL but can look at the reference section and understand which one is the settlement, which is the original decision, etc.). Here it is:
In 2004, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of five parents in the Cobb County, Georgia, School District.[33] As is usual in cases involving a violation of constitutional rights, if the parents won the case, their lawyers, inclulding the ACLU, could recover their costs. In Selman v. Cobb County School District, the ACLU argued [34] that the district had violated the Establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution by putting stickers in biology textbooks that said, "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."[35] The trial judge ruled in favor of the ACLU [36], but his ruling was vacated on appeal.[37] Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Atlanta law firm Bondurant, Mixon & Elmore, and Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton joined the ACLU of Georgia in handling the case on remand to the district court. [38] The case was eventually settled, with the school district agreeing to remove the stickers, to avoid altering science textbooks or making "any disclaimers regarding evolution orally, in writing, or by any other means", to teach the state Board of Education's core curriculum (which includes evolution), and to recover attorneys' fees of $166,669.12. [39] [40]
I feel we are getting much closer to agreement - please comment on this version. Is there anything here that anyone feels *must* be taken out? Is there anything not included here that anyone feels *should* be included? Is there anything worded in a misleading or confusing way? By working together we can make it great!--Hsmom 10:18, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Yes, several things must be taken out, and I don't think that it is an improvement. You want to say "on behalf of a group of five parents" because you want to imply that the ACLU was not just using the parents to get the money. But how do you know that? Maybe the ACLU was doing exactly that. It is known that the ACLU often does go fishing for plaintiffs in cases like this. What evidence do you have that the ACLU cares anything about the parents?
You say that the parents "felt their Constitutional rights were being violated". Again, how do you know? I find this unlikely. You say "recover their costs", but 28 USC 1988 is not just limited to recovering costs, and the ACLU was asking more than just recovering costs.
You say "As is usual" to indicate your approval. It doesn't belong. You say "involving a violation of constitutional rights". Again, this is just your opinion. I do not happen to agree. My version lets the reader decide for himself.
Adding the names of the law firms is trivial and useless info, especially when we don't even know whether they had any significant role. Saying that the school district agreed to teach the core curriculum is misleading unless you also say that it wasn't under dispute in the case. Again you use the word "recover", which is inaccurate because we don't know that anyone recovered anything. RSchlafly 12:41, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
You say that the parents "felt their Constitutional rights were being violated". Again, how do you know? Because they sued the school district over it. It seems pretty obvious to me. Being involved in a lawsuit takes a lot of time and effort, and is not something that most families take on lightly. Do you have evidence to disprove this? Because if not, I think it's pretty safe to assume that parents who file a lawsuit saying that their Constitutional rights have been violated *actually believe* that their Constitutional rights have been violated. However, regardless of what either of us believe about the parent's feelings or beliefs, my version of the article doesn't make any statements whatsoever about the parent's beliefs or feelings. It simply states what they *did*, which was have the ACLU file a lawsuit on their behalf. --Hsmom 12:59, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
Well, it is not obvious to me, and I think that it is unlikely the parents felt their Constitutional rights were being violated. The parents were probably leftist-atheist-evolutionists who wanted to make a pro-evolution statement. The ACLU had its own motives for taking the case, and those motives certainly included making a pro-evolution statement and collecting a monetary judgment. We know that from the complaint, the settlement, and the press release. RSchlafly 13:38, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

OK. I am catching on, I think. See how you like this one. I have taken out the "on behalf of a group of five parents" phrase, because you see bias there and we don't want any bias. I have taken out reference to constitutional rights. I have taken out "recover", because you felt this wasn't accurate, and "As usual", because you felt it was an opinion. I have taken out the statement about the law firms. I have explained that teaching the core curriculum wasn't under dispute in the case. I have put in exactly who the money went to, with a reference. I have put in the two press release quotes you thought were important.

What do you think? Am I getting closer? If there's anything that isn't quite right, please do suggest alternate wording. --Hsmom 19:25, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

In 2004, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Cobb County, Georgia, School District.[41] The plaintiffs in the suit were a group of five parents in the school district. If the parents won the case, the school district would have to pay their lawyers, including the ACLU. In Selman v. Cobb County School District, the ACLU argued [42] that the district had violated the Establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution by putting stickers in biology textbooks that said, "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."[43] The trial judge ruled in favor of the ACLU [44], but his ruling was vacated on appeal.[45] The case was eventually settled. The school district agreed to remove the stickers. They agreed to avoid altering science textbooks or making "any disclaimers regarding evolution orally, in writing, or by any other means". They also agreed to teach the state Board of Education's core curriculum (which includes evolution), although that wasn't under dispute in the original suit. In addition, they paid $166,669.12 to Atlanta law firm Bondurant, Mixon & Elmore.[46] [47] In an ACLU press release, ACLU of Georgia Executive Director Debbie Seagraves commended "the brave parents in Cobb County who have fought for more than four years to ensure that their children receive proper science education in their public schools.” The press release also quoted the original decision, which stated that “the sticker sends a message to those who oppose evolution for religious reasons that they are favored members of the political community, while the sticker sends a message to those who believe in evolution that they are political outsiders.” [48]

You've made your points, and I've made mine. I have my biases, of course. Maybe we should turn this over to some more neutral observer. RSchlafly 22:49, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

It looks to me like this last version of the paragraph is a good one, not quite what I would like, but it seems to address all of your concerns. Every single claim has a clear supporting reference that backs up the claim and the language seems incredibly neutral. Where does it go wrong? What would you change about it and why? Is there a sentence you would add somewhere? --Reginod 08:48, 6 April 2007 (EDT)

We can turn this dispute over to the student panel, but there's no doubt that this Georgia lawsuit by the ACLU was designed to censor criticism of evolution. Moreover, we're not going to simply post self-serving excerpts from the ACLU press release. Look at what the ACLU demanded and received in the settlement agreement -- censorship of criticism of evolution in perpetuity -- and then describe the litigation in those terms. Maximum length should be no more than 400 words on this, as our rules emphasize conciseness. Thanks.--Aschlafly 01:01, 6 April 2007 (EDT)

If we're not going to use "self-serving" sources, perhaps AiG should go. Just a thought. Anyways, the phrase "censorship" is values-loaded. The ACLU certainly sought to censor religion from public endorsement. But so did the Constitution :-/ -AmesGyo! 01:14, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
Why can’t we quote ACLU press releases if we clearly indicate that is what they are and do so to support statements about what they said they were doing. I can’t think of a better source to support a claim like “The ACLU said…” than an ACLU press release.--Reginod 08:51, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
RSchlafly, I agree that it might help to bring in a few other folks to help us agree on a good version of this paragraph. Anyone is welcome to help us, but it would be useful for them to read through the discussion above and in the previous two sections, to understand what the issues have been and how we've arrived at the current proposed version. As to the details -
Aschlafly, I agree with you that the ACLU press release quotes do not belong. I only put them there because they are in the current article and RSchlafly seemed to feel they were important, as they spoke to the ACLU's motive in bringing the case - perhaps I misunderstood. Let's take them out.
Aschlafly, we had the term "censor" in a previous version, and RSchlafly felt it was inappropriate/biased, and I could see his point, so we took it out. See the discussion above.
I agree that "censorship of criticism of evolution in perpetuity" was part of the settlement. That's why I think it's critical to include that the board agreed to teach the state Board of Education's core curriculum, which includes evolution, which is not included in the current version of the article. RSchlafly was reluctant to include it, and felt that if we included that, it was important to point out that wasn't under dispute in the original suit, so I left that phrase in. (See above for the full discussion.)
There are a lot of details about the money in the case that I'd be willing to remove, but RSchlafly feels they are important, as he feels money may have been the ACLU's primary motivation for taking the case, so I have left them in. (The current version of this paragraph in the ACLU article implies that money was the ACLU's primary motivation for bringing the suit - I do not feel that point of view is supported by the references given in the article, which is one reason I think the current article must be changed. I personally think the ACLU's primary motivation was to remove anything that even hinted at Creationism from the public school, because of separation of church and state issues (i.e. the Establishment clause)). However, I think we can write a factual paragraph without speculating as to motive, by including both the facts that support the money motive and the facts that support the Establishment/removal of Creationism motive.
As to conciseness, I actually think this case deserves its own article, so that more details and references can be included, however I thought starting one would be counter-productive until we'd worked through the basic concerns here. Nonetheless, I've simplified it by removing quite a few words. This shorter version has about 161 words.
So here is a version that I'm hoping addresses RSchlafly's concerns as I understand them, does not include speculation, sticks to unbiased language, and removes the things Aschlafly is concerned about, and is concise. I welcome input - I really think that by working together we can create a concise, unbiased, well-referenced paragraph.
In 2004, the ACLU filed Selman v. Cobb County School District.[49] If the plaintiffs, five parents in the Georgia district, won the case, the school district would have to pay their lawyers. The ACLU argued [50] that the district had violated the Establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution by putting stickers in biology textbooks that said, "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."[51] The trial judge ruled in favor of the ACLU [52], but his ruling was vacated on appeal.[53] The case was eventually settled. The school district agreed to remove the stickers, to avoid altering science textbooks or making "any disclaimers regarding evolution", and to teach the state Board of Education's core curriculum, which includes evolution, although that wasn't under dispute in the original suit. In addition, they paid $166,669.12 to Atlanta law firm Bondurant, Mixon & Elmore.[54] [55]
Again, I welcome input - please compare this paragraph to the existing one, and see if you feel there's anything more that should be added or removed or rephrased. I'm willing to work to find a solution that is factual, concise, well-referenced, and avoids bias or speculation. --Hsmom 09:14, 6 April 2007 (EDT)

Let's call it quits for the holiday, OK? We'll come back with fresh minds to tackle this section. --Hsmom 22:31, 6 April 2007 (EDT)

I think that is an outstanding idea, a bit of distance could be good for me. This is also probably a good place to archive the discussion, can someone who knows how do so?--Reginod 23:37, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
I don't know how. I did unprotect the page. I am not saying that there is a consensus. We have had a worthwhile discussion, and protection is no longer needed. RSchlafly 02:30, 7 April 2007 (EDT)

I think, unless I hear I shouldn’t, I’m going to add Hsmom’s last version of this paragraph to the article in a day or so. --Reginod 09:58, 11 April 2007 (EDT)

Reginod, I would appreciate that. In the meantime, I have started an article on this case, Selman v. Cobb County School District, where further information can be added without as much concern for the length of the article, so that those who want to know more can consult the relevant sources, etc. I hope others can add well-researched, factual information to the article. Perhaps we can work together to expand the information on other ACLU cases, so we can present a factual, well-sourced article.

References

  1. Judge: Evolution stickers unconstitutional, Markers in science textbooks violated church-state separation[1]
  2. Judge's Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[2]
  3. ACLU: Parents Challenge Evolution Disclaimer In Georgia Textbooks [3]
  4. Plaintiff's Pretrial Brief, Selman v. Cobb County School District[4]
  5. Judge: Evolution stickers unconstitutional, Markers in science textbooks violated church-state separation[5]
  6. Judge's Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[6]
  7. Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District[7]
  8. Selman v. Cobb County [8]
  9. "Agreement Ends Textbook Sticker Case", press release from Cobb County School District[9]
  10. Selman v. Cobb County School District, Amicus Curiae of Several Pro-Evolution Groups[10]
  11. Judge's Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[11]
  12. Appeal Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[12]
  13. "Agreement Ends Textbook Sticker Case", press release from Cobb County School District including settlement agreement [13]
  14. ACLU: Georgia School Board Drops Defense of Anti-Evolution Stickers[14]
  15. ACLU: Georgia School Board Drops Defense of Anti-Evolution Stickers [15]
  16. ACLU: Parents Challenge Evolution Disclaimer In Georgia Textbooks [16]
  17. ACLU Pretrial Brief in Selman et al v. Cobb County, 11/12/2004 [17]
  18. Judge's Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[18]
  19. Judge's Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[19]
  20. Appeal Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[20]
  21. ACLU: Georgia School Board Drops Defense of Anti-Evolution Stickers [21]
  22. "Agreement Ends Textbook Sticker Case", press release from Cobb County School District including settlement agreement [22]
  23. ACLU: Georgia School Board Drops Defense of Anti-Evolution Stickers[23]
  24. Pepper Hamilton and fees[24]
  25. ACLU: Parents Challenge Evolution Disclaimer In Georgia Textbooks [25]
  26. ACLU Pretrial Brief in Selman et al v. Cobb County, 11/12/2004 [26]
  27. Judge's Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[27]
  28. Judge's Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[28]
  29. Appeal Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[29]
  30. ACLU: Georgia School Board Drops Defense of Anti-Evolution Stickers [30]
  31. "Agreement Ends Textbook Sticker Case", press release from Cobb County School District including settlement agreement [31]
  32. ACLU: Georgia School Board Drops Defense of Anti-Evolution Stickers[32]
  33. ACLU: Parents Challenge Evolution Disclaimer In Georgia Textbooks [33]
  34. ACLU Pretrial Brief in Selman et al v. Cobb County, 11/12/2004 [34]
  35. Judge's Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[35]
  36. Judge's Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[36]
  37. Appeal Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[37]
  38. ACLU: Georgia School Board Drops Defense of Anti-Evolution Stickers [38]
  39. "Agreement Ends Textbook Sticker Case", press release from Cobb County School District including settlement agreement [39]
  40. ACLU: Georgia School Board Drops Defense of Anti-Evolution Stickers[40]
  41. ACLU: Parents Challenge Evolution Disclaimer In Georgia Textbooks [41]
  42. ACLU Pretrial Brief in Selman et al v. Cobb County, 11/12/2004 [42]
  43. Judge's Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[43]
  44. Judge's Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[44]
  45. Appeal Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[45]
  46. "Agreement Ends Textbook Sticker Case", press release from Cobb County School District including settlement agreement [46]
  47. ACLU: Georgia School Board Drops Defense of Anti-Evolution Stickers[47]
  48. ACLU: Georgia School Board Drops Defense of Anti-Evolution Stickers [48]
  49. ACLU: Parents Challenge Evolution Disclaimer In Georgia Textbooks [49]
  50. ACLU Pretrial Brief in Selman et al v. Cobb County, 11/12/2004 [50]
  51. Judge's Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[51]
  52. Judge's Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[52]
  53. Appeal Decision, Selman v. Cobb County School District[53]
  54. "Agreement Ends Textbook Sticker Case", press release from Cobb County School District including settlement agreement [54]
  55. ACLU: Georgia School Board Drops Defense of Anti-Evolution Stickers[55]

Scope of page

This page is 78 kilobytes long and seems to be largely about whether the ACLU is doing the right thing or not. Maybe this should be one of our debate topics. --Ed Poor 11:56, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

Ed Poor, most of this page is a discussion about whether or not the current paragraphs on the locked article page are accurate, and how they should be corrected if they are not. some of this can probably be safely archived (though Evolution 2.0 and Evolution 3.0 are both still active)—I’d do it myself if I knew how.--Reginod 12:01, 4 April 2007 (EDT)

logo

When is an amicus brief worth mentioning?

User:Aschlafly [added] a mention of a case the ACLU filed an amicus brief in but did not represent the plaintiffs in; less than an hour later, he [removed] all mention of racial equality cases with the edit summary "removed liberal bias; ACLU did not represent the plantiffs in Brown v. Board of Education". Is there any principle in use here other than "ACLU is bad"? --Jtl 20:33, 28 April 2007 (EDT)


You omitted a distinction: the amicus brief in the entry was filed in the last few months, while the amicus brief deleted was filed over 50 years ago. Yes, what an organization did earlier this year is more relevant to its entry than what it did over 50 years ago.--Aschlafly 20:42, 28 April 2007 (EDT)
Okay, thank you. In that case, should 70 year old quotes and the fact that the founder was a socialist be the most prominent items in the page? --Jtl 21:41, 28 April 2007 (EDT)
He was the founder, so his vision remains important. But perhaps you're right: it may not be first in significance.--Aschlafly 21:45, 28 April 2007 (EDT)

Cartoon

Is the cartoon really necessary? It doesn't really add anything to the article, in fact it makes CP look like it's susceptible to an opinionated POV rather than presenting relatively objective facts. EQ 10:00, 18 August 2007 (EDT)

The cartoon is relevant from a conservative POV. Conservapedia is not going to have a NPOV (see my message to all liberals). --Crocoite 13:38, 18 August 2007 (EDT)

Basic Definition of ACLU

Hi all. Included in the definition should be a bit more on what the ACLU says it's trying to accomplish. Simply stating that the ALCU is "devoted to protecting certain types of civil liberties", is entirely too superficial for an entry that lies at the center of the conservative/liberal sociological interface :). Providing that information, then a "criticisms" section would be way more direct, informative, poignant, and trustworthy. Jsusman 13:50, 23 August 2007 (EDT)

ACLU, Phelps and NAMBLA

Nambla and Phelps are listed at the bottom a links, but there is no mention in the article. Is there a way to get that in there? I don't know anything about their connection. ItMathers 15:27, 22 October 2007 (EDT)

Wall Street Journal and Tyler Chase

The assertion of the Wall Street Journal's opinion concerning the Tyler Chase lawsuit is without merit. Chase was represented by attorney Robert Tyler of the Alliance Defense Fund. Jordan Budd, legal director of the San Diego chapter of the ACLU believed Chase’s case had merit and is quoted as stating, "The school district is not empowered to censor based on what they deem inflammatory, it has to be based on a constitutional standard." [1] I recommend the paragraph should be edited to reflect the facts instead of opinions.--Jimmy 23:30, 7 February 2008 (EST)

I have done so, though I used a different citation. Drochld 20:05, 6 March 2008 (EST)

Name of ACLU Founder

The name of the ACLU's founder is Roger Nash Baldwin, not Robert Baldwin. [2]--Jimmy 00:14, 8 February 2008 (EST)

The article is not locked, so you can make changes to it. HelpJazz 00:28, 8 February 2008 (EST)
Er... you did. I can't read, sorry. HelpJazz 00:29, 8 February 2008 (EST)

Reversion explained

Don't give a misleading picture of the ACLU. If someone wants to talk about ACLU involvement in free speech, make sure the examples reflect the distribution of cases the ACLU handles, such as many cases pushing obscenity on our society.--Aschlafly 22:08, 11 February 2008 (EST)

This is just another example of why it seems futile to write factual articles for this encyclopedia. I replaced a portion of the article that was based on the false assumptions of an opinion column with factual statements that in no way misrepresented the work of the ACLU. It is a fact that the ACLU defends speech that others support or despise, yet you insist on reverting my entry to another that violates Conservapedia guidelines. [3]You want obscene? What is more obscene than supporting the free speech rights of the KKK? Care to give me any references that will satisfy your ideal of obscenity so I won't waste my time writing something you personally disagree with?--Jimmy 22:51, 11 February 2008 (EST)
Mr. Schlafly: I hope you realize your revert also re-introduced another error that I corrected earlier. It's up to you but I think this article would be more convincing if the founder of the ACLU was referred to by his correct name, Roger not Robert. The correct name is at the beginning of the article but not the end. I would correct it again but you have a habit of reverting all of the edits I make to your article edits.--Jimmy 23:01, 11 February 2008 (EST)
You rant and rave because I pointed out the fallacy in your approach. The ACLU pushes obscenity cases 5 times as much as religion cases. Reflect that fact in your postings here and don't mislead readers.--Aschlafly 23:02, 11 February 2008 (EST)
My 'rant and rave' as you call it follows Conservapedia guidelines while your reversions do not. I do not know of ANY reference that claims the ACLU 'pushes obscenity cases 5 times as much as religion cases'. Care to provide a reliable source? If you do I will gladly write what you want. I suspect that you made up this statistic and will not be able to back it up.--Jimmy 23:14, 11 February 2008 (EST)
Jimmy, do a survey of news stories and decisions mentioning the ACLU. That fact that you're unaware of it simply illustrates the problem.--Aschlafly 23:20, 11 February 2008 (EST)
I am well aware of the ACLU's work. If you want to convince me that they are pushing obscenity cases 5 times as much as religion cases, then you need to provide the reference. I absolutely refuse to confirm the outlandish opinions of others and do research for people that refuse to back up their assertions with basic evidence and references. Every detail in my article edits are backed up with reliable references. Unfortunately I have been reverted numerous times without explanation or by someone saying they just don't like what I write. --Jimmy 23:31, 11 February 2008 (EST)
Jimmy, it's pretty much common knowledge that the ACLU does more cases defending obscenity than cases defending religious expression (in fact, come to think of it they probably do more cases defending religious suppression than they do defending religious expression); as Andy said if you do a quick search than you'll easily find this is true.--IDuan 23:37, 11 February 2008 (EST)
Like I said before, I am aware of the ACLU's work. What you and Schlafly are saying is completely at odds with what I have read. If anyone has a hope of changing my opinion, they have to do something very simple, provide evidence that I am wrong. All you or Schlafly has done is throw out meaningless unreferenced stats that wouldn't convince anyone. By the way, why is the opinion of a columnist allowed to trump factual statements and events? Why should an item concerning the alleged activities of the ACLU be included in this article when it violates the guidelines? I would really like to know. It looks like I am the one trying to follow the rules while the people in leadership positions are violating them. --Jimmy 23:47, 11 February 2008 (EST)
Posted a list of Free Speech cases with the proper 5:1 'obscene/whatever' ratio. Hopes this meets with approval. Deleted the item on Tyler Chase for violating Conservapedia guidelines. --Jimmy 14:35, 14 February 2008 (EST)
No, it doesn't meet our approval. Don't delete Aschlafly's edits while inserting your own. You do NOT decide if someone is violating Conservapedia guidelines. --Crocoite 14:53, 14 February 2008 (EST)

Harper v. Poway Unified School District...

...seems relevant to me...why take it out? AliceBG 20:21, 6 March 2008 (EST)

It was misleading. I've added the info in an accurate way now.--Aschlafly 20:25, 6 March 2008 (EST)
I'm no lawyer, but aren't all amicus briefs carefully worded? HelpJazz 20:30, 6 March 2008 (EST)
Oh, liberals are sooooooooo literal. HelpJazz, the phrase "carefully worded" has meaning beyond its literal interpretation.--Aschlafly 20:34, 6 March 2008 (EST)
First let me say that I love being called a liberal yet again. I just don't see the harm, in an encyclopedia, to say what we mean. If we don't literally mean "carefully worded", then wouldn't the encyclopedia be better off with whatever we really mean? For us literal "liberals"? HelpJazz 20:38, 6 March 2008 (EST)
No, HelpJazz, because good writing does not restrain itself with overly literal -- and obviously inapplicable -- interpretations.--Aschlafly 20:43, 6 March 2008 (EST)
Encyclopedic writing lends itself to clarity, though, I would hope. In the context, I don't know what you are trying to imply by "carefully worded". If I don't know, then likely other users who are trying to learn from this encyclopedia don't know, and then the encyclopedia is failing at its only job, which is to teach. HelpJazz 20:47, 6 March 2008 (EST)
HelpJazz, I don't see any credible complaints of confusion but, if you think this is so important, then please suggest a succinct substitute that does not dilute the obvious point.--Aschlafly 21:08, 6 March 2008 (EST)
First I'm a liberal, and now I'm not a credible witness. I'm falling down rungs much faster than I can climb them, I guess. HelpJazz 21:56, 6 March 2008 (EST)
Just popping in to say that I'm rather confused that carefully worded does not mean carefully worded. Barikada 22:01, 6 March 2008 (EST)
Wow, liberals love to talk, talk, talk. Just suggest a succinct substitute that makes the same point. (Or pretend after all these messages that you still cannot grasp the point.)--Aschlafly 22:11, 6 March 2008 (EST)
'scuse me for providing proof that people can be confused by impercise doublespeak. Barikada 22:12, 6 March 2008 (EST)

For those interested in this case, here are some more documents:

Alliance Defense Fund's cert. brief to SCOTUS 9th circuit opinion Kozinski's dissent

Drochld 21:22, 6 March 2008 (EST)

Free Speech section

This section jumbles together the alleged times when the ACLU has defended free speech and times when they have not. I plan on in the future shifting these into two sections for ease of parsing.--TomMoore 18:31, 21 March 2008 (EDT)

Not sure what you have in mind, but liberal placement bias is not allowed here.--Aschlafly 20:01, 21 March 2008 (EDT)

Free Speech Issues

The article claims that the American Civil Liberties Union "virtually never defends speech that is critical of homosexuality." This is, however, false; as the ACLU defended Shirley L. Phelps-Roper, a member of the anti-homosexual Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.

http://www.aclu.org/freespeech/protest/26265prs20060721.html (ACLU press release)

Therefore I believe this portion of the article should be taken down so Conservapedia can remain as accurate as possible. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Adg2011 (talk)

So, one example out of thousands of contrary ones, makes a logical argument? --₮K/Talk 21:47, 31 March 2008 (EDT)
TK: Thousands of "contrary ones"? This claim and many like it have been made about the ACLU by Iduan, Aschlafly, etc., but no one has ever even posted the slightest bit of evidence that this is so. Any chance that you can be the exception to the rule and provide the evidence that backs up your assertion? --Jimmy 22:58, 31 March 2008 (EDT)
Yes, I will be happy to, Jimmy. Please keep in mind that my usual hours preclude me being on line here during the day, and my time being able to edit is very limited being on the West Coast, okay? --₮K/Talk 23:43, 31 March 2008 (EDT)

http://www.commondreams.org/news2006/0201-29.htm

http://www.aclu.org/religion/govtfunding/26526res20060824.html

http://midtopia.blogspot.com/2006/03/aclu-and-religious-liberty.html

http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1769031#post24424698 I have found many more reasons why I believe this piece of the article should be taked down. This contradicts the statement "virtually never" as stated in the article. Therefore, unless I have missed something, I will take down that segment of the article. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Adg2011 (talk)

Same-Sex Marriage Section

The article states "The ACLU sues schools when a student alleges encountering "anti-gay peer harassment and bullying based on his perceived sexual orientation." [18] The ACLU holds the school (and hence the taxpayers) liable for actions based on conduct by some students towards others."

I'm sure that the the readers and editors of Conservapedia would be against racist or sexist harassment and bullying, so why would it not be same case with LGBT students. The Constitution of the United States' 14th Amendment provides equal protection "to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Thus I believe that this section should be deleted or altered so that Conservapedia's tone remains neutral. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Adg2011 (talk)

You do realize that Conservapedia is officially a Christian & Conservative - friendly encyclopedia, and therefore does not strive, like Wikipedia for neutrality? --₮K/Talk 18:55, 1 April 2008 (EDT)
Because I believe there is a difference between conservatism and anti-constitutional thinking. One of the core values of the conservatism is the infallibility of the constitution. I do edit Wikipedia, by the way. Do you have an opinion on the subject, user ₮K? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Adg2011 (talk)
I noted that CP does not strive for neutrality, as you suggested it do. I have no idea where the Constitution and WP references connect. Happy editing! --₮K/Talk 21:33, 1 April 2008 (EDT)

'Conspicuously Absent' section

I previously commented on this section of the article and I think TK did amend it, but both must have been lost with the recent crash. This section is poorly construction and too opinionated, and needs a lot of work. Philip J. Rayment 03:44, 15 February 2009 (EST)

Privacy Rights Section

Is there any chance an explanation could be given for the removal of the Privacy Rights section? TK posted a threat on my talk page not to post 'liberal deceit' or I wouldn't be taken seriously. I was under the impression that the ACLU did do the three things indicated in the offending section. If there is any information that would indicate they did not support 'Joe the Plumber' with an open letter, file a friend of the court brief in support of Limbaugh, or join a broad coalition of civil rights groups to oppose the national ID card, please let me know or post it in the article. I thought the references provided were of the required quality, or is Fox News a source of 'liberal deceit'? --JohnnyBB 13:58, 18 February 2009 (EST)

Look, without a longer track record your contributions could very well be liberal deceit. Perhaps these additions are along the lines of Satan quoting Psalm 91:11-12 when he/she (...could Satan be female?) made an attempt to tempt Christ. Or perhaps these additions are okay. In either case, it's too difficult to tell. --RickD 21:13, 18 February 2009 (EST)
Well said, RickD.
JohnnyBB, you are well on your way to proving my point. I don't make threats, what I posted on your talk page, take it as a promise. Either discuss your plans for changes to articles on the talk pages, or we can just not waste your time, or anyone else's here as well, and block you immediately. This isn't whatever liberal wiki you might be used to. Time wasters, especially those trying to prove the unprovable, namely that the ACLU is anything other than biased against conservative thought, and a radical leftist organization, with a demonstrable track record of being that, will be a one-way ticket to oblivion here. But please, don't take my word for it! Go post on the Owner's page, and tell him about my "threats", and your thoughts about how the ACLU is interested in protecting everyone's privacy, including conservatives. You might also want to be prepared to answer some questions from him about the tens of thousands of babies the ACLU has helped kill. Just saying..... --₮K/Admin/Talk 03:12, 19 February 2009 (EST)


RickD: Comparing my edits to Satan? Are you serious or is this a form of subtle humor?
TK: I read the Commandments, guidelines, and etiquette links you thoughtfully provided. Thank-you very much. Nowhere did I see a prohibition against editing an article without starting a discussion on the talk page. Was I mistaken? If so, could you point me in the right direction please? There is however a rule that suggests, Favour improving another person's edits over deleting them. I wonder who ignored this concept? By the way, in America, favour is spelled without the u. The u is used in Britain. Thank the first Roosevelt administration for the change.
You claimed I was trying to prove the unprovable (sic). Yet I am the one that posted references to my edit that even included a conservative source. Are you actually trying to deny that the ACLU has supported the privacy rights of at least some Americans even when they don't believe in such a concept themselves? Limbaugh denied the existence of a constitutional right to privacy, yet that didn't stop him from accepting the ACLU's brief nor did he stop his attorney from making the same claims in his defense against the doctor shopping charges.
If the owner of this page wants to start a dialog with me about the alleged distain for privacy rights you are alleging about the ACLU, I would be glad to do so. I will not contact him on his personal page because the etiquette page states any discussion concerning the content of an article should take place on the article's talk page and not an editor's page. I don't want to give you any additional reasons to make any more promises in reference to the factual and referenced edits I have made.
I suppose we could discuss the issue of the ACLU's alleged baby killing, but I prefer that we stick to the issue at hand, you know, the idea that the ACLU may actually support privacy rights of certain Americans. Would this be an issue you care to discuss? Can we have a rational discussion on the stated topic without wandering over to other areas like baby killing? Would you be willing to provide primary or secondary sources to your claims instead of just saying things like the ACLU is anything other than biased against conservative thought, and a radical leftist organization? If your assertion is the unmitigated and unquestionable fact that you seem to insist it is, then you should have no problem providing numerous references.
Once again, thank-you for your responses concerning my alleged liberal deceit. I'm kind of blown away that editing this encyclopedia in a way that abides by the Commandments, guidelines and rules of etiquette is somehow liberal deceit. Do I have your permission to follow the example set by yourself when editing articles? If so would you kindly tell me so? That way I won't have to worry about things like liberal deceit accusations. --JohnnyBB 20:50, 19 February 2009 (EST)
  • Gods speed to you, JohnnyB. Bye. --₮K/Admin/Talk 21:15, 19 February 2009 (EST)
What TK is saying is that you are inserting liberalism into pages. While a liberal is not prevented from editing here, this is not a liberal wiki. TK wants the changes on the talk page first because you want to add liberalism into articles and these need reviewed first. It is not written that way in the commandments. Your work has been reverted several times, it is a reasonable request (temporary) until you have a track record of contributions. --jpatt 21:28, 19 February 2009 (EST)
What's not been explained is how it is "liberalism" to insert factual information, and nobody's argued that it was not factual. So therefore nobody has explained just what he did wrong. In fact, he was, as he said, abiding by the commandments and guidelines, and it was TK who hasn't followed editing etiquette in reverting him. There is no absolute requirement to discuss proposed changes on talk pages first, yet he has been hauled over the coals for not doing so, and banned for rightly protesting his innocence. Worse, after being threatened and told that he should discuss his edits, he did try and discuss his edits here, only to have said discussion ignored, and further threats issued. Philip J. Rayment 21:50, 19 February 2009 (EST)
OK, so the ACLU edit is not liberalism, just a defense of liberals (ACLU). But in doing so, claiming that they were very concerned which in fact is not factual. You and me both know that the ACLU is no stranger to defending privacy in the courts. Joe the Plumber did not make concern enough to pursue. The Campos edit was liberalism. He was in fact trying to discredit the GOP with a references that only the GOP want mandatory sentencing, not liberals and that the GOP feels it as the ONLY solution, when they don't. When it is in fact not exclusive to the GOP (Ca. democrats enacted the same law) and is not the only solution in the national platform. He wanted me to add the Ca. info but I feel the mandatory min. info didn't belong their in the first place. So JohnnyBB is a liberal with a non-Conservative agenda, that has a beef with administrators. PJR, if you disagree with me, then you sir are worse than Hitler! I give credit to Greg Gutfeld's 'Red-eye' for that fancy statement. --jpatt 22:18, 19 February 2009 (EST)
Jpatt, I was not claiming that the edit was totally acceptable. I was claiming that it was reverted without explanation, the user inappropriately threatened, told to discuss the edit, then blocked when he did discuss the edit, because he dared to question his treatment. There is nothing wrong with defending liberals per se; if they have been falsely accused, for example, then they deserved to be defended as much as anybody else. And just because someone does defend a liberal doesn't mean that they themselves are liberal. That is illogical. So yes, I do disagree with you, and therefore calling me names ("worse than Hitler") is arrogant and rude, and especially inappropriate for a fellow administrator. Philip J. Rayment 07:26, 20 February 2009 (EST)


Administrators and Bureaucrats are the Administrators of Conservapedia. Their instructions, as to Conservapedia policy and/or the appropriateness or inappropriateness of user actions, are to be followed.
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--₮K/Admin/Talk 22:58, 19 February 2009 (EST)

That does not give you carte blanche to inappropriately threaten editors. Philip J. Rayment 07:26, 20 February 2009 (EST)

The Privacy Section was inappropriate. Two referenced inconsequential letters, which have no legal effect, and the third item at best merited a footnote. Placing such a Privacy Section above far more important issues was an obvious distortion.--Andy Schlafly 23:45, 19 February 2009 (EST)

Perhaps it was inappropriate. My point is not whether the edit was appropriate in that sense, but the inappropriate handling of it. Philip J. Rayment 07:26, 20 February 2009 (EST)

Leftist

The ACLU is not leftist. Left wing refers primarily to economic policies. The ACLU does not have an economic agenda. Liberal would be far more accurate, especially since a lot of libertarians support the ACLU in many cases. Gtbob12 13:31, 28 September 2009 (EDT)


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