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Medieval City Life

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Evolution Laws in U.S. History

1967, Tennessee

An objection to the 1925 Butler Act was delayed by the trial judge awaiting relevant legislative action to repeal the act. In the middle of this process a teacher named Gary L. Scott, was sued and fired from his position because of the Butler Act. The Senate defeated the repeal measure. Scott's case brought forth help from the ACLU, the National Science Teachers Association, the NEA, and the AAAS. Scott after the trial Scott was reinstated with full back pay, but Scott at this point filed a federal class action lawsuit attacking the Butler Act. The Tennessee Senate re-considered the repeal measure that had earlier been defeated, and this time passed it.

1981, Arkansas, McLean v. Arkansas

A test of the "equal-time" legislation passed by the legislature of Arkansas in 1981, this court trial included a long list of plaintiffs, ministers, rabbis, bishops, and theologians, who did not agree with the attempt to have a narrow-minded, skeptical anti-evolution account taught as science. An array of experts spoke out about the issues, and the "equal-time" legislation that was condemned by William R. Overton, the trial judge, in a desirable decision. The McLean v. Arkansas Trial Documentation Project has taken up the problem of preserving the actual trial records from this historic case.

1965-66, Arkansas, Epperson v. Arkansas

Susan Epperson, a native hailing from Arkansas, a first-year science teacher that was due to soon leave the state, became the plaintiff in a test case on the constitutionality of the Arkansas anti-evolution law passed in 1928. The verdict of the trial judge declared the law as unconstitutional.

1969-70, Mississippi, Smith v. Mississippi




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