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Edwards v. Aguillard - Significance, Creationism Act

appellant court quarterly time


Edwin W. Edwards, Governor of Louisiana


Don Aguillard

Appellant's Claim

The Creationism Act was legal.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Wendell R. Bird, Special Assistant Attorney General of Georgia

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Jay Topkis

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr. (writing for the Court), Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O'Connor, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., John Paul Stevens, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

19 June 1987


The Creationism Act violated the Establishment Clause and was therefore unconstitutional.

Related Cases

  • Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947).
  • McGowan v. Maryland, 366 U.S. 429 (1961).
  • Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962).
  • Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971).
  • Committee for Public Education and Religious Liberty v. Nyquist, 413 U.S. 756 (1973).


Sanders, Alain I. "LAW: Memories of the Monkey Trial."Time, 29 June 1997.

Further Readings

  • Benen, Steve. "Evolving Debate." Church & State, October 1998, p. 13.
  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt, eds. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1996.
  • Lemonick, Michael D. "Dumping on Darwin." Time, March 18, 1996, p. 81.
  • Schmidt, Karen. "Creationists Evolve New Strategy." Science, July 26, 1996, p. 420.
Enmund v. Florida - Significance, The Facts Of The Crime, The Legal Process, Degree Of Responsibility, Implications Of Decision [next] [back] Davis v. Bandemer - Significance, A Political Question?, An Agreeable Test, Inconsistent Results, Impact, Further Readings

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over 9 years ago

Although I do agree that the law should not be upheld, it not for the same reason. Creationism, in my opinion, appears to be the only viable option, even by using the process of elimination. Evolution has one giant whole and contradiction in it that I have yet to hear an answer for: Where did the universe come from? Either you say there was a beginning, which requires something(or someone) to cause such beginning, or you must say that it always existed. The law of cause and effect is one firmly held naturally law. The universe’s infinite existence violates that law. Therefore, there is no logical way of evolution being true. Since there is only two options, Creationism(Intelligent Design) is the only remaining option.

The reason I do not agree with this law is because the possible backfire it could create. Just as law should not be used to restrict religion, neither should it be used to force others to abide by religion. Each public school should teach each subject by its own accord, and let the students make up their own minds. We should not force one point of view on them. We should not make up their minds for them. Any school that denies that, supports a biased point of view and is corrupting the next generation with the model of being narrow-minded .

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over 9 years ago

I am relieved that this so-called "law" was overturned - the supreme court got rational just in time. But I AM horrified that there was enough support in the state to even IMPLEMENT the "Creationism Act". It is patently absurd. Creationism runs contrary to all evidence. Why is it that people need evidence for everything in their lives, but when it comes to the truly important issues, they use "faith" based on nothing? How can creationism be taught in schools, with a straight face? Shouldn't the "flat earth" theory get equal standing with "round earth" enthusiasts? And I happen to think that the theory that the planets and stars all revolve around earth to be a valid theory also. I think we should teach that in schools. WHAT GIVES????

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over 9 years ago

so your reasoning is that since the THEORY of evolution has a hole in it, that creationism also fails to answer, god must have made everything. thats as religious as it gets, and creationism fails to answer, where did the creator come from? did he just apear in burst of light and say, why dont i create humans! no, the truth is that there is no reason behind creationist beliefs other than man's necessity to argue, and to feel like there is life after death. the catholic faith is based on belief not fact, noone really knows if Jesus lived or not, the church tells you that you must believe, follow the good Shepard. well if Jesus is the good shepard then the church is its sheep dogs, barking and snapping, preventing us from excercising our free will, which is one of creationism's biggest ideals, that man was created with free will and when we die the wonderous thing that just happened to decide to make us will decide wether we have been good or bad and our spirit will then be sent to heaven or hell so we can live eternally. does THAT sound logical? most devout catholics believe the earth to be not much more than 4000 years old, this is due to creationism's teachings, saying god made the earth in 7 days and made civilized man and told them not to talk to the snake and yada yada yada, 4000 years later here we are. or wait, almost every other aspect of science points to the earth as being millions of years old, and mankind itself only to be about 12,000. or did god make all the fossils and stuff too? due to incidents such as the salem witch trials, church was separated from state to avoid a religious mindset interfering with logic. but wait, who funds public schools? oh thats right! the state, so your "narrow-minded" school would offer students the most sound theory known to man, and the only one that accounts for everything but the existence of the universe, and offer as well, a course based on religion, in a public school, were some poor students parents would force them to take it as opposed to evolution, and alter their mindset to one more based on religion, even without their knowledge. theres a reason for private schools, and a reason for separation of church and state, evolution has taught us that much.