The Scopes Trial, Leopold and Loeb, Darrow, and William Jennings Bryan

Being a trial lawyer with the last name of Bryan, I’ve always been interested in what many people consider to be the most famous and high-profile trial in American History, the Scopes Trial, or the Scopes “Monkey Trial.” Long before O.J. Simpson even thought of choosing the color of his new Ford Bronco, the country had already experienced a “Trial of the Century,” which engaged the entire nation.

The front pages of the newspapers, such as the New York Times, were dominated for days. There were reporters present at the trial from more than 200 newspapers. There were 22 telegraphers present, sending out 165,000 words per day via new telegraph wires, many of which were installed for that very purpose.

One of the prosecutors involved in the trial was named Sue Hicks. He was likely the inspiration of Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue,” one of the all-time best country classics. If you’ve ever wondered what “Sue” looked like, well here he is:

Sue Hicks

The song was actually originally written by humorist, and poet, Shel Silverstein, and then later made famous by Johnny Cash. The Man in Black recorded the song live at his famous 1969 concert at San Quentin prison. Cash didn’t necessarily set out to make the song famous, he just thought it was a good number to play to the prison crowd, and it went over so well, he ran with it. Silverstein had a friend named Jean Shepherd. Jean was often taunted as a child because he had a borderline girls’ name. One theory goes that Jean was the inspiration of the song. The other theory, and possibly both are true, is that Shel Silverstein attended a judicial conference in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where Sue Hicks was a speaker.

Hicks was actually sent an autographed record by Johnny Cash, with the inscription, “To Sue, how do you do?” Hicks is quoted as admitting that his name may have inspired the song, but he pointed out that the song’s character bore little resemblance to his real life. In reality, he said, he found it as a source of humor, and was okay with it, as he was named Sue so as to honor his mother, who died during childbirth. In 1970, he wrote,  “It is an irony of fate that I have tried over 800 murder cases and thousands of others, but the most publicity has been from the name ‘Sue’ and from the evolution trial . . . .” So it goes, Sue . . . .

Clarence Darrow, left, and William Jennings Bryan speak with each other at the “monkey trial” in Dayton, Tenn. in 1925. Darrow was one of three lawyers sent to Dayton by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). They defended John T. Scopes, a biology teacher, in his test of Tennessee’s law banning the teaching of evolution. Bryan testified for the prosecution as a bible expert. (AP Photo)

The main lawyers, however, are the real story of the Scopes Trial, Clarence Darrow, and William Jennings Bryan. Darrow is possibly the most famous trial lawyer of all time. William Jennings Bryan is one of the most famous orators of American history, and is most famous for having run for President, and obtained the Democrat nomination three times without ever having won the office of President. Bryan, having the same last name as me, is supposedly related. His grandfather was named John Bryan, and lived in Point Pleasant, West Virginia during the early 19th century, at the same time my family lived there. Bryan wrote in his memoirs that his great grandfather was William Bryan, who is probably my 6th great grandfather.

In any event, the Scopes Trial itself, was set up by activists from the beginning. At that time, it was illegal for a public school teacher to teach evolution in the classroom. So they arranged for John Scopes, a 24 year old science and math teacher, to teach evolution, and to admit to doing so. He urged his students to testify against him, which they did. Sue Hicks was one of the original prosecutors. Sue asked William Jennings Bryan to become an associate prosecutor on the case, despite the fact that he had not tried a case in 36 years. Given that Bryan was the three-time Democrat Nominee for the presidency, that would be like hiring Hillary Clinton as the prosecutor, assuming that she ran, and lost another two times, over the course of a decade, or so. That was a big name of the time, and a huge political influence being thrust into the case.

In response, the defense had to match Bryan, and brought in the most famous trial lawyer in American history, Clarence Darrow. Darrow was most famous for his involvement in the “Leopold and Loeb” murder trial. The Scopes Trial occurred in July of 1925. The Leopold and Loeb murder trial, had occurred the year prior, over the course of 12 days, ending on September 10, 1924. It was also labeled the “Trial of the Century.” Darrow was paid $70,000.00 to defend the case.

Leopold and Loeb were two wealthy students at the University of Chicago who, in May of 1924, kidnapped and murdered 14 year old Bobby Franks in Chicago. Supposedly they had been attempted to demonstrate their superior intellect by committing the “perfect crime.” Not unlike modern millennials, who think they’re smarter than the rest of us older people, they began to believe in a concept of some sort of transcendental superhuman intellectualism, espoused by philosophers like Friedrich Nietzsche, which allowed such highly intelligent individuals to become essentially above the law. Because they’re just that smart. That’s the theory anyways. The pair began committing petty crimes, but didn’t get the attention they were apparently seeking. So they set on kidnapping and murdering a child. Leopold himself was then only 19, and Loeb was 18.

They rented a car under a false name, and pulled up to the kid and offered him a ride home. Once in the car, the kid was hit in the head with a chisel by whichever one of the pair was sitting in the backseat. The kid was then dragged into the backseat, gagged, and soon died. They drove to the planned location in Indiana, where they were to dump the body. They removed the clothes, concealed the body in a culvert, and poured hydrochloric acid on the body, in order to prevent identification.

By the time they returned to Chicago, people were already looking for the kid. Ingeniously, and I say that sarcastically, Leopold called the kid’s mother, identifying himself as “George Johnson,” and told her that her child had been kidnapped, and told her that written instructions would arrive for providing a ransom for his safe return. So they mailed a typed ransom note the following morning. Here it is:

Then there was apparently a second phone call to the family to dictate payment instructions. But before it could be accomplished, the child’s body was found. They then abandoned the plot, destroying the stolen typewriter they had been using, and burning other items of evidence. Convinced that they had covered their tracks, they went about their business.

Leopold for some reason began talking to police and reporters, commenting on the murder. He told one detective, “If I were to murder anybody, it would be just such a cocky little son of a bitch as Bobby Franks.” At the site where Franks’ body was found, police found eyeglasses, which were fitted with a unique hinge mechanism. They figured out that these types of eyeglasses were purchased by only three customers in Chicago, one of whom was Leopold. He was asked about this, and his response was that they may have fallen out of his pocket while bird watching the previous weekend. Apparently he wasn’t as much of a superhuman intellectual as he had once believed. Oops. Then the destroyed typewriter was found in a park lake, and the two men were picked up for questioning.

Both men had an alibi involving picking up two women in Leopold’s car. But that failed when police questioned Leopold’s chauffeur, as both men were from wealthy families, and the chauffeur verified that the car was in the garage for maintenance during the relevant time period. Then they confessed. First Loeb spilled the beans, and by then it was basically a done deal.

Since these were wealthy Chicago families, no expense was spared on the defense lawyer. Clarence Darrow was hired. It was rumored at the time he was hired at an expense of one million dollars, though apparently it was only $70,000.00. But what was he going to do? The cases were already locked up tight. All he could do was to try to avoid the death penalty, and since he was an avid anti-death penalty opponent, he worked towards that goal. There was no doubt the convictions would occur from the beginning.

Darrow gave a 12 hour oral argument on behalf of his clients, railing against the death penalty, coupled with what he described as the youth and immaturity of Leopold and Loeb. This was the first “Affluenza” case. Darrow’s closing argument is believed by many to be the best of his career:

This terrible crime was inherent in his organism, and it came from some ancestor … Is any blame attached because somebody took Nietzsche’s philosophy seriously and fashioned his life upon it? … It is hardly fair to hang a 19-year-old boy for the philosophy that was taught him at the university.

Now, your Honor, I have spoken about the war. I believed in it. I don’t know whether I was crazy or not. Sometimes I think perhaps I was. I approved of it; I joined in the general cry of madness and despair. I urged men to fight. I was safe because I was too old to go. I was like the rest. What did they do? Right or wrong, justifiable or unjustifiable – which I need not discuss today – it changed the world. For four long years the civilized world was engaged in killing men. Christian against Christian, barbarian uniting with Christians to kill Christians; anything to kill. It was taught in every school, aye in the Sunday schools. The little children played at war. The toddling children on the street. Do you suppose this world has ever been the same since? How long, your Honor, will it take for the world to get back the humane emotions that were slowly growing before the war? How long will it take the calloused hearts of men before the scars of hatred and cruelty shall be removed?

We read of killing one hundred thousand men in a day. We read about it and we rejoiced in it—if it was the other fellows who were killed. We were fed on flesh and drank blood. Even down to the prattling babe. I need not tell you how many upright, honorable young boys have come into this court charged with murder, some saved and some sent to their death, boys who fought in this war and learned to place a cheap value on human life. You know it and I know it. These boys were brought up in it. The tales of death were in their homes, their playgrounds, their schools; they were in the newspapers that they read; it was a part of the common frenzy – what was a life? It was nothing. It was the least sacred thing in existence and these boys were trained to this cruelty.

It will take fifty years to wipe it out of the human heart, if ever. I know this, that after the Civil War in 1865, crimes of this sort increased, marvelously. No one needs to tell me that crime has no cause. It has as definite a cause as any other disease, and I know that out of the hatred and bitterness of the Civil War crime increased as America had never seen before. I know that Europe is going through the same experience today; I know it has followed every war; and I know it has influenced these boys so that life was not the same to them as it would have been if the world had not made red with blood. I protest against the crimes and mistakes of society being visited upon them. All of us have a share in it. I have mine. I cannot tell and I shall never know how many words of mine might have given birth to cruelty in place of love and kindness and charity.

Your Honor knows that in this very court crimes of violence have increased growing out of the war. Not necessarily by those who fought but by those that learned that blood was cheap, and human life was cheap, and if the State could take it lightly why not the boy? There are causes for this terrible crime. There are causes as I have said for everything that happens in the world. War is a part of it; education is a part of it; birth is a part of it; money is a part of it—all these conspired to compass the destruction of these two poor boys.

Has the court any right to consider anything but these two boys? The State says that your Honor has a right to consider the welfare of the community, as you have. If the welfare of the community would be benefited by taking these lives, well and good. I think it would work evil that no one could measure. Has your Honor a right to consider the families of these defendants? I have been sorry, and I am sorry for the bereavement of Mr. and Mrs. Franks, for those broken ties that cannot be healed. All I can hope and wish is that some good may come from it all. But as compared with the families of Leopold and Loeb, the Franks are to be envied—and everyone knows it.

I do not know how much salvage there is in these two boys. I hate to say it in their presence, but what is there to look forward to? I do not know but what your Honor would be merciful to them, but not merciful to civilization, and not merciful if you tied a rope around their necks and let them die; merciful to them, but not merciful to civilization, and not merciful to those who would be left behind. To spend the balance of their days in prison is mighty little to look forward to, if anything. Is it anything? They may have the hope that as the years roll around they might be released. I do not know. I do not know. I will be honest with this court as I have tried to be from the beginning. I know that these boys are not fit to be at large. I believe they will not be until they pass through the next stage of life, at forty-five or fifty. Whether they will then, I cannot tell. I am sure of this; that I will not be here to help them. So far as I am concerned, it is over.

I would not tell this court that I do not hope that some time, when life and age have changed their bodies, as they do, and have changed their emotions, as they do—that they may once more return to life. I would be the last person on earth to close the door of hope to any human being that lives, and least of all to my clients. But what have they to look forward to? Nothing. And I think here of the stanza of Housman:

Now hollow fires burn out to black, / And lights are fluttering low:
Square your shoulders, lift your pack / And leave your friends and go.
O never fear, lads, naught’s to dread, / Look not left nor right:
In all the endless road you tread / There’s nothing but the night.

I care not, your Honor, whether the march begins at the gallows or when the gates of Joliet close upon them, there is nothing but the night, and that is little for any human being to expect.

But there are others to consider. Here are these two families, who have led honest lives, who will bear the name that they bear, and future generations must carry it on.

Here is Leopold’s father – and this boy was the pride of his life. He watched him, he cared for him, he worked for him; the boy was brilliant and accomplished, he educated him, and he thought that fame and position awaited him, as it should have awaited. It is a hard thing for a father to see his life’s hopes crumble into dust.

Should he be considered? Should his brothers be considered? Will it do society any good or make your life safer, or any human being’s life safer, if it should be handed down from generation to generation, that this boy, their kin, died upon the scaffold?

And Loeb’s the same. Here are the faithful uncle and brother, who have watched here day by day, while Dickie’s father and his mother are too ill to stand this terrific strain, and shall be waiting for a message which means more to them than it can mean to you or me. Shall these be taken into account in this general bereavement?

Have they any rights? Is there any reason, your Honor, why their proud names and all the future generations that bear them shall have this bar sinister written across them? How many boys and girls, how many unborn children will feel it? It is bad enough as it is, God knows. It is bad enough, however it is. But it’s not yet death on the scaffold. It’s not that. And I ask your Honor, in addition to all that I have said to save two honorable families from a disgrace that never ends, and which could be of no avail to help any human being that lives.

Now, I must say a word more and then I will leave this with you where I should have left it long ago. None of us are unmindful of the public; courts are not, and juries are not. We placed our fate in the hands of a trained court, thinking that he would be more mindful and considerate than a jury. I cannot say how people feel. I have stood here for three months as one might stand at the ocean trying to sweep back the tide. I hope the seas are subsiding and the wind is falling, and I believe they are, but I wish to make no false pretense to this court. The easy thing and the popular thing to do is to hang my clients. I know it. Men and women who do not think will applaud. The cruel and thoughtless will approve. It will be easy today; but in Chicago, and reaching out over the length and breadth of the land, more and more fathers and mothers, the humane, the kind and the hopeful, who are gaining an understanding and asking questions not only about these poor boys, but about their own – these will join in no acclaim at the death of my clients.

These would ask that the shedding of blood be stopped, and that the normal feelings of man resume their sway. And as the days and the months and the years go on, they will ask it more and more. But, your Honor, what they shall ask may not count. I know the easy way. I know the future is with me, and what I stand for here; not merely for the lives of these two unfortunate lads, but for all boys and all girls; for all of the young, and as far as possible, for all of the old. I am pleading for life, understanding, charity, kindness, and the infinite mercy that considers all. I am pleading that we overcome cruelty with kindness and hatred with love. I know the future is on my side. Your Honor stands between the past and the future. You may hang these boys; you may hang them by the neck until they are dead. But in doing it you will turn your face toward the past. In doing it you are making it harder for every other boy who in ignorance and darkness must grope his way through the mazes which only childhood knows. In doing it you will make it harder for unborn children. You may save them and make it easier for every child that sometime may stand where these boys stand. You will make it easier for every human being with an aspiration and a vision and a hope and a fate. I am pleading for the future; I am pleading for a time when hatred and cruelty will not control the hearts of men. When we can learn by reason and judgment and understanding and faith that all life is worth saving, and that mercy is the highest attribute of man.

I feel that I should apologize for the length of time I have taken. This case may not be as important as I think it is, and I am sure I do not need to tell this court, or to tell my friends that I would fight just as hard for the poor as for the rich. If I should succeed, my greatest reward and my greatest hope will be that for the countless unfortunates who must tread the same road in blind childhood that these poor boys have trod—that I have done something to help human understanding, to temper justice with mercy, to overcome hate with love.

I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar Khayyam. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all:

So I be written in the Book of Love,
I do not care about that Book above.
Erase my name or write it as you will,
So I be written in the Book of Love.

This is the context of the Scopes Trial, and only the next year, after this “trial of the century,” here we go with the next “trial of the century.” And it was only 1925, so there were still 75 years left of the century. And O.J. Simpson hadn’t even been born yet. Having myself stood up in a courtroom to beg for the lives of my clients, I feel I can give an adequate opinion that Darrow’s argument, whether you accept it or not, was masterful. It’s like he’s verbalizing the thoughts of everyone in the room, going back and forth and discussing various aspects, all the while, still going in the same direction, and at the same time using poetry, and appealing to a higher duty. Really, really good, and a wonderful example of the power of the spoken word. Another aspect of being a trial lawyer is cross examination. This same man, engaged in what was perhaps the most famous cross examination of American legal history, albeit it was highly unusual, and assuredly never to be repeated in any court in the country.

The Scopes Trial itself, became a debate on the Bible, between Darrow and Bryan, the most famous part of which was the unprecedented move of Darrow calling Bryan as a witness. Generally that is not done in any criminal case. If the lawyer becomes a witness, he can no longer be the lawyer. But evidently it was agreed between the parties, that Bryan would be called as a witness, and that he then would be entitled to call Darrow as a witness. Darrow ended up outmaneuvering him on that, and never ended up testifying. Here’s some of the real transcript from that testimony:

Q–You have given considerable study to the Bible, haven’t you, Mr. Bryan? 

A–Yes, sir, I have tried to. 

Q–Then you have made a general study of it? 

A–Yes, I have; I have studied the Bible for about fifty years, or sometime more than that, but, of course, I have studied it more as I have become older than when I was but a boy. 

Q–You claim that everything in the Bible should be literally interpreted? 

A–I believe everything in the Bible should be accepted as it is given there: some of the Bible is given illustratively. For instance: “Ye are the salt of the earth.” I would not insist that man was actually salt, or that he had flesh of salt, but it is used in the sense of salt as saving God’s people. 

Q–But when you read that Jonah swallowed the whale–or that the whale swallowed Jonah– excuse me please–how do you literally interpret that? 

A–When I read that a big fish swallowed Jonah–it does not say whale. 

Q–That is my recollection of it. A big fish, and I believe it, and I believe in a God who can make a whale and can make a man and make both what He pleases. 

Q–Now, you say, the big fish swallowed Jonah, and he there remained how long–three days– and then he spewed him upon the land. You believe that the big fish was made to swallow Jonah? 

A–I am not prepared to say that; the Bible merely says it was done. 

Q–You don’t know whether it was the ordinary run of fish, or made for that purpose? 

A–You may guess; you evolutionists guess….. 

Q–You are not prepared to say whether that fish was made especially to swallow a man or not? 

A–The Bible doesn’t say, so I am not prepared to say. 

Q–But do you believe He made them–that He made such a fish and that it was big enough to swallow Jonah? 

A–Yes, sir. Let me add: One miracle is just as easy to believe as another 

Q–Just as hard? 

A–It is hard to believe for you, but easy for me. A miracle is a thing performed beyond what man can perform. When you get within the realm of miracles; and it is just as easy to believe the miracle of Jonah as any other miracle in the Bible. 

Q–Perfectly easy to believe that Jonah swallowed the whale? 

A–If the Bible said so; the Bible doesn’t make as extreme statements as evolutionists do…. 

Q–The Bible says Joshua commanded the sun to stand still for the purpose of lengthening the day, doesn’t it, and you believe it. 

A–I do. 

Q–Do you believe at that time the entire sun went around the earth? 

A–No, I believe that the earth goes around the sun. 

Q–Do you believe that the men who wrote it thought that the day could be lengthened or that the sun could be stopped? 

A–I don’t know what they thought. 

Q–You don’t know? 

A–I think they wrote the fact without expressing their own thoughts. 

Q–Have you an opinion as to whether or not the men who wrote that thought 

Mr. Darrow–I read that years ago. Can you answer my question directly? If the day was lengthened by stopping either the earth or the sun, it must have been the earth? 

A–Well, I should say so. 

Q– Now, Mr. Bryan, have you ever pondered what would have happened to the earth if it had stood still? 


Q–You have not? 

A– No; the God I believe in could have taken care of that, Mr. Darrow. 

Q– I see. Have you ever pondered what would naturally happen to the earth if it stood still suddenly? 

A– No. 

Q–Don’t you know it would have been converted into molten mass of matter? 

A–You testify to that when you get on the stand, I will give you a chance. 

Q–Don’t you believe it? 

A–I would want to hear expert testimony on that. 

Q–You have never investigated that subject? 

A–I don’t think I have ever had the question asked. 

Q–Or ever thought of it? 

A–I have been too busy on thinks that I thought were of more importance than that. 

Q–You believe the story of the flood to be a literal interpretation? 

A–Yes, sir. 

Q–When was that Flood? 

A–I would not attempt to fix the date. The date is fixed, as suggested this morning. 

Q–About 4004 B.C.? 

A–That has been the estimate of a man that is accepted today. I would not say it is accurate. 

Q–That estimate is printed in the Bible? 

A–Everybody knows, at least, I think most of the people know, that was the estimate given. 

Q–But what do you think that the Bible, itself says? Don’t you know how it was arrived at? 

A–I never made a calculation. 

Q–A calculation from what? 

A–I could not say. 

Q–From the generations of man? 

A–I would not want to say that. 

Q–What do you think? 

A–I do not think about things I don’t think about. 

Q–Do you think about things you do think about? 

A–Well, sometimes. 

(Laughter in the courtyard.) 

Policeman–Let us have order…. 

Q–Wait until you get to me. Do you know anything about how many people there were in Egypt 3,500 years ago, or how many people there were in China 5,000 years ago? 


Q–Have you ever tried to find out? 

A–No, sir. You are the first man I ever heard of who has been in interested in it. (Laughter.) 

Q–Mr. Bryan, am I the first man you ever heard of who has been interested in the age of human societies and primitive man? 

A–You are the first man I ever heard speak of the number of people at those different periods. 

Q–Where have you lived all your life? 

A–Not near you. (Laughter and applause.) 

Q–Nor near anybody of learning? 

A–Oh, don’t assume you know it all. 

Q–Do you know there are thousands of books in our libraries on all those subjects I have been asking you about? 

A–I couldn’t say, but I will take your word for it…. 

Q–Have you any idea how old the earth is? 


Q–The Book you have introduced in evidence tells you, doesn’t it? 

A–I don’t think it does, Mr. Arrow. 

Q–Let’s see whether it does; is this the one? 

A–That is the one, I think. 

Q–It says B.C. 4004? 

A–That is Bishop Usher’s calculation. 

Q–That is printed in the Bible you introduced? 

A–Yes, sir…. 

Q–Would you say that the earth was only 4,000 years old? 

A–Oh, no; I think it is much older than that. 

Q–How much? 

A–I couldn’t say. 

Q–Do you say whether the Bible itself says it is older than that? 

A–I don’t think it is older or not. 

Q–Do you think the earth was made in six days? 

A–Not six days of twenty-four hours. 

Q–Doesn’t it say so? 

A–No, sir…. 

The Court–Are you about through, Mr. Darrow? 

Darrow–I want to ask a few more questions about the creation. 

Q–Mr. Bryan, do you believe that the first woman was Eve? 


Q–Do you believe she was literally made out of Adams’s rib? 

A–I do. 

Q–Did you ever discover where Cain got his wife? 

A–No, sir; I leave the agnostics to hunt for her. 

Q–You have never found out? 

A–I have never tried to find 

Q–You have never tried to find? 


Q–The Bible says he got one, doesn’t it? Were there other people on the earth at that time? 

A–I cannot say. 

Q–You cannot say. Did that ever enter your consideration? 

A–Never bothered me. 

Q–There were no others recorded, but Cain got a wife. 

A–That is what the Bible says. 

Q–Where she came from you do not know. All right. Does the statement, “The morning and the evening were the first day,” and “The morning and the evening were the second day,” mean anything to you? 

A– I do not think it necessarily means a twenty-four-hour day. 

Q–You do not? 


Q–What do you consider it to be? 

A–I have not attempted to explain it. If you will take the second chapter–let me have the book. (Examining Bible.) The fourth verse of the second chapter says: “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth, when they were created in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,” the word “day” there in the very next chapter is used to describe a period. I do not see that there is any necessity for construing the words, “the evening and the morning,” as meaning necessarily a twenty-four-hour day, “in the day when the Lord made the heaven and the earth.” 

Q–Then, when the Bible said, for instance, “and God called the firmament heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day,” that does not necessarily mean twenty-four hours? 

A–I do not think it necessarily does. 

Q–Do you think it does or does not? 

A–I know a great many think so. 

Q–What do you think? 

A–I do not think it does. 

Q–You think those were not literal days? 

A–I do not think they were twenty-four-hour days. 

Q–What do you think about it? 

A–That is my opinion–I do not know that my opinion is better on that subject than those who think it does. 

Q–You do not think that ? 

A–No. But I think it would be just as easy for the kind of God we believe in to make the earth in six days as in six years or in 6,000,000 years or in 600,000,000 years. I do not think it important whether we believe one or the other. 

Q–Do you think those were literal days? 

A–My impression is they were periods, but I would not attempt to argue as against anybody who wanted to believe in literal days. 

Q–I will read it to you from the Bible: “And the Lord God said unto the serpent, because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.” Do you think that is why the serpent is compelled to crawl upon its belly? 

A–I believe that. 

Q–Have you any idea how the snake went before that time? 

A–No, sir. 

Q–Do you know whether he walked on his tail or not? 

A–No, sir. I have no way to know. (Laughter in audience). 

Q–Now, you refer to the cloud that was put in heaven after the flood, the rainbow. Do you believe in that? 

A–Read it. 

Q–All right, Mr. Bryan, I will read it for you. 

Bryan–Your Honor, I think I can shorten this testimony. The only purpose Mr. 

Darrow has is to slur at the Bible, but I will answer his question. I will answer it all at once, and I have no objection in the world, I want the world to know that this man, who does not believe in a God, is trying to use a court in Tennesseee– 

Darrow–I object to that. 

Bryan–(Continuing) to slur at it, and while it will require time, I am willing to take it. 

Darrow–I object to your statement. I am exempting you on your fool ideas that no intelligent Christian on earth believes. 

The Court–Court is adjourned until 9 o’clock tomorrow morning.

The conviction would be overturned by the Tennessee Supreme Court, and later completely settled in a 1968 U.S. Supreme Court decision. In the podcast, I opine about what I think the Scope trial’s legacy is today. And I don’t think it’s completely settled, because “Intelligent Design” is still at issue today, in regards to whether it can/should be taught in public schools.

William Jennings Bryan would die 5 days after the Scopes Trial – some say of a broken heart, following this traumatic and dramatic trial. Although no trial of this nature will likely ever happen again, the viewpoints behind it are far from settled, and the core philosophy of the law, and of religion, as it pertains to public education in America . . . . Well, we haven’t seen the last of it.