On May 24, 1999, Minnesota Independent School District #656 was sued by one of its science teachers, Rodney LeVake. When LeVake taught high school biology for the 1997-1998 school year without covering the required curriculum sections on evolution, the district had asked LeVake to prepare a position paper on his teaching practices. LeVake stated in this paper that he would only teach evolutionary theory if he could also teach "the difficulties and inconsistencies of the theory." In response, the district reassigned him to a ninth-grade general science course. LeVake sued to recover his prior teaching position, alleging that the reassignment violated his right to free exercise of religion, free speech, due process, and academic freedom. He also sought damages and legal costs, and a declaratory judgment that the district's teaching assignment policy was illegal under the United States and Minnesota Constitutions.
On June 28, 2000, District Court Judge Bernard E. Borene ruled against LeVake on all counts. LeVake appealed at all levels, but a Minnesota Court of Appeals panel upheld Judge Borene's ruling on May 8, 2001. The Minnesota Supreme Court refused to review LeVake's case on July 24, and the United States Supreme Court followed suit on January 27, 2002.
Key legal documents for this case are provided at the bottom of this page. They are arranged in chronological order.