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Court: OC teacher can't be sued over creationism

August 19, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A federal appeals court said on Friday that a Mission Viejo teacher cannot be sued by his student for disparaging creationism in class.

Capistrano Valley High School teacher James Corbett called creationism, "religious, superstitious nonsense" during a history lesson.

The student had alleged that the teacher violated the First Amendment.

A lower court sided with his student that the teacher violated a ban on governmental hostility toward religion.

But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco overturned that ruling, saying the teacher had a reasonable belief his comments were acceptable during an advanced placement history lesson.

The appeals court refused to address the constitutionality of the comments.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.