Epperson v. State of Arkansas

In Epperson v. State of Arkansas (1968), the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a state law that barred the teaching of Darwin's theory of evolution because although the statute obviously did not coerce anyone to support religion or participate in any religious practice, the law was enacted for a singularly religious purpose. Epperson is most often cited for its importance with regard to the body of law surrounding the teaching of religious doctrine in public schools.

Facts of the Case

At issue in Epperson was a 1928 Arkansas statute, enacted in the wake of the so-called Scopes Monkey Trial, that made it illegal for teachers in state-supported schools or universities to teach the theory or doctrine that mankind ascended or descended from a lower order of animals or ...

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