Epperson v. Arkansas 393 U.S. 97 (1968)

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EPPERSON v. ARKANSAS 393 U.S. 97 (1968)

Arkansas prohibited the teaching in its public schools "that mankind ascended or descended from a lower order of animals." In dealing with a challenge to the law based on establishment clause and freedom of speech grounds, Justice abe fortas, speaking for the Supreme Court, concluded that the Arkansas law violated the establishment clause. "There can be no doubt," he said, "that Arkansas sought to prevent its teachers from discussing the theory of evolution because it is contrary to the beliefs of some that the book of Genesis must be the exclusive source of the doctrine of the origin of man."

Justice hugo l. black and Justice potter stewart concurred in brief opinions resting on vagueness grounds. The Black opinion raised important government speech issues that are still unresolved.

Richard E. Morgan

(see also: Creationism.)