I give it about a month until rule 11 sanctions.

So apparently there’s some creationist outfit in Texas that wants to grant a M.S. in science education, teaching creationism. In a rare moment of sanity, Texas refuses to accredit them. Now, arguably, there’s some kind of first amendment viewpoint-discrimination thing here, though if this is viewpoint discrimination, so would be refusing to accredit a school that taught the flatness of the earth or that pi equals nineteen, so I doubt it would fly.* But it’s probably not sanctionable.

But the school didn’t stop there. It’s filed a total wacko lawsuit (h/t PZ), in which the complaint runs to 67 pages and has countless allegations ranging from the merely sanctionable to the actively insane. Highlights include:

- Asserting that the Texas scheme of accrediting educational institutes constitutes giving “titles of nobility” (page 2);

- Asserting a right to “freedom from anti-accommodational evolution-only-science enforcement policy” (page 2)

- Asserting that freedom of the press is being violated, apparently because the magazine of their “school” wants to run advertisements for their M.S. program, but, well, the state of Texas doesn’t want to let them grant an M.S. degree (pg. 8, 10);

- What appears to be a particularly ham-fisted attempt to allege a dormant commerce clause claim (pg. 10, 23, 44);

- Amusingly, characterizes the big bang as part of evolutionary theory (pg. 17);

- Characterizes as “viewpoint discrimination” the trivially true claim that “evolutionary thinking is ‘foundational’ to ‘modern science’” (pg. 21);

- Demands religious accommodations under “applicable federal law(s)” that are not stated, because, well, there are none regulating state action, and any such laws that did exist would be unconstitutional — see City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997) (striking down, on federalism grounds, portion of Religious Freedom Restoration Act requiring states to pass strict scrutiny before burdening religious practice — that is, to grant accommodations) (pg. 24);

- Asserting that reliance on a “evidentarially disputed naturalistic theory of earth history” constitutes a violation of procedural due process (pg. 27);

- Also asserting a violation of procedural due process because no creationists were on the accreditation panel (pg. 29);

[skipping 15 pages of in-complaint briefing that I couldn't bear even to skim]

- Hinting at an antitrust claim (pg. 44, 54);

Let’s not forget that the complaint is basically a motion-to-dismiss brief too. Were I representing Texas, a motion to strike 90% of it would be attached to the rule 11 and 12(b)(6) motions. Page 18, for example, is all ranting footnote.

The last page of the online copy of the complaint is omitted, probably to save the poor lawyer who signed it the humiliation of having his misbehavior publicly exposed. Anyone wanna fire up PACER?


* Fellow atheists (oh, fuck it. Ok, I hereby declare myself a New Atheist. There.): who wants to start a religion with the doctrine that pi=19 and start demanding that school boards “teach the controversy” in math class? C’mon. Let’s have some fun with these fuckers.


6 Responses to “I give it about a month until rule 11 sanctions.”

  1. Steve M. Says:

    (1) I believe the Indiana House of Representatives once tried to enact a statute making pi exactly 3.14, though apparently only in Indiana. A horrified mathematics professor was, by chance, in the building that day on unrelated business. He promptly sat down with several Representatives for an impromptu math lesson, and derailed the legislators’ efforts to enact the impossible. Given courts’ attitudes towards legislative findings, he may well have save Indiana judges from some truly stupid rulings.

    (2) The upside of the titles of nobility claim is that, after they lose, the plaintiffs’ lawyers will be the preeminent titles of nobility lawyers in the entire country. That’s worth a line in a resume.

  2. Michael Drake Says:

    “I believe the Indiana House of Representatives once tried to enact a statute making pi exactly 3.14, though apparently only in Indiana.”

    You can’t accuse them of circular logic.

  3. Paul Gowder Says:

    Can I give some kind of best comment award for this?

  4. Steve M. Says:

    Haven’t you just done that? I offer what credibility I have in support of Michael Drake’s receiving the First Annual Uncommon Priors Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence (in comments).

  5. Paul Gowder Says:

    On motion by the absolute despot, seconded by Steve… It is written, it is done!

  6. Michael Drake Says:

    I am honored, and would like to thank the innumeracy that made this possible.

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