WASHINGTON — Fundamentalist Christians attempting to ban from Alabama public schools 44 textbooks they say promote a godless religion asked a Supreme Court justice Wednesday to assure their case will not die before reaching the nation's highest court.
The emergency request asked Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to keep the case alive until the full Supreme Court considers a formal appeal in the controversy.
It was not clear, however, whether such action by O'Connor was necessary, or whether the fundamentalists' chances of winning Supreme Court review would be jeopardized if she denies the request.
A federal appeals court ruled in August that the challenged books wrongly were banned by an Alabama-based federal trial judge.
U.S. District Judge W. Brevard Hand had ruled that the books--39 history and social studies textbooks and five home economics textbooks--promote the religion of secular humanism in violation of the constitutionally required separation of church and state.