TEA law­suit dis­missal up­held

Austin American-Statesman - - LOCALBRIEFING -

A fed­eral ap­peals court on Fri­day up­held a lower court’s de­ci­sion to toss out a law­suit by for­mer Texas Ed­u­ca­tion Agency sci­ence di­rec­tor Chris Comer, who ar­gued that the agency’s neu­tral po­si­tion on teach­ing cre­ation­ism was un­con­sti­tu­tional. Her law­suit was dis­missed last year.

The 5th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals said the agency’s pol­icy does not vi­o­late the First Amend­ment’s re­li­gious free­dom clause be­cause it does not ad­vance or in­hibit the prac­tice of re­li­gion.

Comer, who ran the agency’s sci­ence cur­ricu­lum for nine years, re­signed in Novem­ber 2007 af­ter su­per­vi­sors threat­ened to fire her for for­ward­ing an e-mail tout­ing a speaker who was crit­i­cal of teach­ing cre­ation­ism and in­tel­li­gent de­sign in pub­lic schools.

Comer filed suit in 2008 ar­gu­ing that agency’s neu­tral­ity pol­icy vi­o­lated the First Amend­ment be­cause it in ef­fect en­dorsed re­li­gion. Comer also said threat­en­ing her job vi­o­lated her right to carry out her du­ties free of a state pol­icy that pro­moted re­li­gion.

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