Epperson v. Arkansas

In the first week of transcribing on scotusnotes.org our volunteers uncovered many important discussions. One of the best finds so far are Justice Brennan’s notes for Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97 (1968) – a landmark decision about teaching evolution in public school science classes.

Specifically, the state of Arkansas passed a law prohibiting teachers in public or state supported schools from teaching, or using textbooks that teach, human evolution. Epperson, a public school teacher, sued claiming the law violated her right to free speech as well as the Establishment Clause.

Here, Justice John Harlan pointed out a clear Establishment Clause violation but Justice Brennan thought Harlan would vote to affirm (meaning in favor of the state of Arkansas). It turns out Harlan joined a unanimous Court to rule in favor of Epperson.


Justice Brennan’s notes from Epperson v. Arkansas.


Establishment is here – must be

Some way to get it back to

Arkansas court.


He would affirm


Among other new stories, we’ve also made the National Science Foundation News Magazine! Check it out here: https://news.science360.gov

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