JUNE 26, 2006
The same Clinton-appointed federal judge, who ruled that “theory of evolution” stickers on high school biology textbooks are an unconstitutional endorsement of religion, is blocking a Georgia law that bars sex offenders from living near school bus stops.
U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper apparently thinks that a new state law is too hard on sex offenders and has sided with eight violent individuals who want to violate it. Created after a pair of sex offenders who had killed two girls in neighboring Florida were arrested in Georgia, the law prohibits such criminals from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of anywhere children gather. That includes schools, churches, parks, gyms, swimming pools or bus stops.
In hisruling , Judge Cooper, the first black appointed to a full-time judgeship on the Atlanta Municipal Court and the first black ever elected to a countywide judgeship on the Fulton Superior Court, said that Georgia’s strict sex offender law violates the Constitution. The eight offenders in this case were represented by the Southern Center for Human Rights, an organization that legally represents convicted felons in the south.
Just last year, the same judge issued a controversial ruling against a suburban Atlanta school system when he ordered the removal of stickers on high school biology textbooks because they called evolution a theory, not a fact. In that ruling, Cooper said that “By denigrating evolution, the school board appears to be endorsing the well-known prevailing alternative theory, creationism or variations thereof, even though the sticker does not specifically reference any alternative theories.”
The stickers had been added in the public school district after thousands of parents complained that the textbooks presented evolution as fact, without mentioning other ideas about the beginnings of life, such as the biblical story of creation.
Six parents and a few so-called civil rights organizations sued, contending the disclaimers violated the separation of church and state and unfairly singled out evolution from thousands of other scientific theories as suspect.
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