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Tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 14, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Lawrence VanDyke to a lifetime position on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

It has been widely reported that the American Bar Association declared VanDyke “unqualified” to be a federal appellate judge. Beyond that damning conclusion, though, VanDyke also has a history of promoting the teaching of creationism in public schools, a practice the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in 1987.

Please use our automated system to contact the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and tell them that unqualified theocrats do not deserve a lifetime appointment as federal appellate judges.


According to an Alliance For Justice’s report, VanDyke published an article while he was at Harvard arguing that “intelligent design,” a version of religious creationism, is supported by enough evidence that it ought to be taught in public schools. In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7–2 that teaching intelligent design in public schools violated the Establishment Clause. As a 9th Circuit judge, VanDyke cannot be relied on to defend even this most basic tenet of secular public education.

Further, in the same paper VanDyke allegedly committed academic misconduct by egregiously misquoting Harvard biology Professor Richard Lewontin, adding an erroneous word to a Lewontin quote that reversed its meaning, giving the impression that Lewontin supported VanDyke’s advancement of intelligent design when in fact he denounced it. Legal scholar Brian Leiter described VanDyke’s conduct as “scholarly fraud.” This shows a willingness to sacrifice the truth in order to push a conservative religious agenda, a terrible trait for a federal appellate judge.


Freedom From Religion Foundation

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