Ninety years ago today, John T. Scopes, a substitute teacher in Datyon, Tennessee, was arrested for teaching the theory of evolution, in violation of a recently passed state law. His case, the Scopes "Monkey" Trial, was the first "trial of the century." It pitted two great lawyers against each other -- William Jennings Bryan, a frequent presidential candidate and senator known for his religious conviction, verses Clarence Darrow, an openly agnostic and widely celebrated defense attorney.
The high profile of the lawyers and the controversial nature of the law turned the trail into a media circus. Which is exactly what was wanted. The trial was organized as a test case by the recently formed ACLU. Scopes lost, but through the suit, the ACLU was able to capture the attention of the public and shape a debate which continues to this day.