Ninth Circuit to hear teacher Christianity bashing suit

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The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear arguments today in a case in which a Capistrano Unified high school teacher made disparaging remarks about a student’s religion.

Nearly two years ago, a district court ruled that European history teacher James Corbett’s comment that creationism is “religious, superstitious nonsense” violated the First Amendment. The court determined that the comment amounted to state disapproval of religion exercised by the teacher as an agent of the state.

A nonprofit Christian legal group had sued on sophomore Chad Farnan’s behalf. Lawyer Jennifer Monk is representing Farnan.

The teacher made other comments that she’d like the Ninth District Court to rule against. "He quoted Mark Twain, and stated that religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool; the one that’s most often quoted is, ‘When you put on your Jesus glasses you can’t see the truth,’" she said.

UC Irvine Law School dean Irwin Chemerinsky is representing the teacher. He’s appealing to the Ninth District to exonerate James Corbett. It’s a case legal scholars are paying attention to and that, depending on the result, may wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.