Saturday, 24 December 2005
School boards consider Kitzmiller decision
Laurie Goodstein writes in today's New York Times that school boards across the country are discussing Judge Jones' decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover in the context of their debates on whether to incorporate intelligent design into their biology curricula ("Schools Nationwide Study Impact of Evolution Ruling").
As has been noted elsewhere, this will likely be the chief impact of the decision. A U.S. District Court ruling binds only the parties to the case at bar; as a formal matter, it has no application elsewhere. A District Court decision can, however, be persuasive authority that other courts may follow and that potential litigants may follow to avoid being sued over similarly illegal policies. See e.g., McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education, 529 F. Supp. 1255 (1982), which the Kitzmiller court analyzed extensively in its decision.