Freshwater: Still waiting for the Ohio Supreme Court


John Freshwater’s appeal of his termination as a middle school science teacher in the Mt. Vernon, Ohio, public schools is still hanging fire in the Ohio Supreme Court. Decisions normally are promulgated between three and six months following oral arguments, and it’s been four months since the February 27, 2013, arguments in this case. The Mount Vernon News had a story on it last week.

More below the fold.

The case, as Justice O’Neill noted in the oral arguments, is a hybrid, part employment law and part Freshwater’s First Amendment/academic freedom claims. If the Court decides the case on the former, either for or against Freshwater, and punts on the latter, I’m reasonably satisfied, though I’d dislike seeing him reinstated if the Court decides in his favor. In that event there will be heavy pressure on the Board of Education to get real explicit in its intructions about what’s appropriate to teach in public schools.

However, if it’s decided in Freshwater’s favor on the First Amendment/academic freedom grounds, Ohio will become even more of a battleground over creationism in the schools. The current creationism hoorah in Springboro, Ohio, (see the Sensuous Curmudgeon for that story) will be merely an introduction. That I ain’t looking forward to.

Best case: The Court decides against Freshwater on both arguments. Betting case: The Court decides on the case (one way or the other) on employment law grounds and punts on the First Amendment/academic freedom argument.


Disclaimer: I’m a resident of the “OH, No!” state in a neighboring county within a half-hour’s drive of Mount Vernon.

My best case scenario: an OSC decision that results in further litigation and a new, landmark decision against Freshwater that will rival or surpass Kitzmiller v Dover in importance. (I am not optimistic that the OSC can render a decision of this caliber on its own.)

Although further litigation of this case will be a continued waste of public funds that easily could be spent for better purposes, I will consider my contribution as tax dollars well-spent, just for the entertainment value alone.

Thanks for the update.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on July 1, 2013 11:25 AM.

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