Deposition of Senator James L. Holsted
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
REV. BILL McLEAN, et al PLAINTIFFS
THE STATE OF ARKANSAS, et al DEFENDANTS
* * * * *
JAMES L. HOLSTED
TAKEN AT INSTANCE OF PLAINTIFFS
* * * * *
FOR THE PLAINTIFFS
HONORABLE ROBERT M. CEARLEY, JR.
Cearley, Gitchel, Mitchell & Bryant
1014 W. Third
Little Rock, Arkansas.
HONORABLE LAURIE R. FERBER
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
919 Third Avenue
New York, N. Y. 10022
FOR DEFENDANT STATE OF ARKANSAS
HONORABLE DAVID L. WILLIAMS
HONORABLE RICK CAMPBELL
Attorney General's office
Little Rock, Arkansas.
FOR DEFENDANT PULASKI COUNTY SPECIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
HONORABLE HENRY J. OSTERLOH
300 Spring Building
Little Rock, Arkansas.
The deposition of the witness, JAMES L. HOLSTED, was taken
on Thursday, August 13, 1981, beginning at the hour of 10:00 A. M.
in the conference room of the Attorney General's office, Justice
Building, Little Rock, Arkansas, pursuant to agreement of counsel
for the purpose of discovery, at the instance of the plaintiffs in
the captioned cause now pending before the above named court, and
pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
* * * * *
JAMES L. HOLSTED,
called as a witness by counsel for the plaintiffs, after being
first duly sworn by the undersigned Notary Public, in answer to
questions propounded, testified as follows:
BY MR. CEARLEY:
Q Senator, you know who I am...
A Yes, sir.
Q ... and that I represent the various plaintiffs in this
lawsuit. I feel certain that Mr. Williams and Mr.
Campbell have told you the purpose of a discovery deposi-
tion, but, if they haven't, let me just tell you that my
purpose in asking you here is to take the opportunity to have
you here and under oath and ask you a number of things
having to do with the drafting and passage of SB 482,
Act 590 of 1981. In any instance in which your memory
may be vague I want to get your best recollection. If
you later think that you have made a mistake or want to
correct what you said, please do that.
Q This deposition can be used at the trial in the event
there's anything inconsistent between what's said at the
trial and what's said here.
A I understand.
Q Basically my purpose is just to get information from you,
so stop me if I'm not plain.
A Will do.
Q Your full name is James L. Holsted?
Q What's your current address?
A **** ******** *****.
Q In North Little Rock?
A North Little Rock.
Q You're married and have children?
A Two children.
Q Are they in public schools?
A Yes, sir.
Q What are their ages?
A A daughter 14 and a son that's 9. He just turned 10 in
Q Are they in public school in North Little Rock?
A Yes, in public schools in North Little Rock.
Q What's your educational background?
A A B. A. from Vanderbilt University.
Q What was your major?
A Business Administration.
Q How are you currently employed?
A I'm employed by Omega Corporation, which is a holding
Q What are your duties basically in your employment?
A Just oversee the assets of the corporation. It owns an
insurance company and rental properties and other invest-
Q How long have you been employed in that capacity? That's
a family-run and owned business, isn't it?
A Yes, it's a family-owned business. I'm president and
chairman of the board of that company.
Q Have you been doing that for a number of years?
A Yes, sir, since the death of my parents in 1972.
Q You are also the elected Senator from your district, are
you not, in the State Legislature?
A That's correct.
Q How long have you held that state office?
A Two years, which is the equivalent of one term, in the Senate.
Q When will you be up for reelection?
A This next year, 1982.
Q In the fall?
A In the fall election. They'll be in May, I guess, June.
Q Have you had an opportunity to discuss this lawsuit and
these issues, or the issues that are raised in the lawsuit,
with the Attorney General and Mr. Williams and Mr. Campbell
A Yes, sir, many opportunities.
Q I'll bet! I want to ask you first ... I notice from some
of the reports that appeared in the press that you have
stated publicly that what eventually became Act 590 of
1981 was originally a bill or a draft of a bill handed to
you by someone. Will you reiterate that for me?
A You want me to go through the process of how I received
that model legislation?
Q Yes, sir.
A I had an employee of mine in the insurance company by the
name of Carl Hunt, who contacted me and asked me if I
would be interested in sponsoring a piece of legislation
that required the teaching of creation-science along with
evolution-science in the school systems. At that point in
time I had no knowledge of the subject. I really didn't
know anything about it. I told him I would be happy to
look at a piece of legislation and see if I would like to
sponsor it. That's the way much of my legislation comes,
Q You get a lot of either requests or suggestions or drafts
that someone has submitted to you?
A Certainly. Someone will have a problem that they want to
correct or an idea they want to do, and they'll bring me,
or any of those senators, legislation, and we'll look at
it and see if we want to do that or not.
So he asked me if I would consider that.
I said yes, to send me the information. Then I was contacted
by Larry Fisher, who is a science teacher in Jacksonville
school system, who contacted me. He had been contacted by
Mr. Hunt, and asked me if it was true and I would like to
look at the information, and I said yes, I would.
So he mailed me a copy of a bill, and
he also mailed me some background information on the subject.
He had been teaching it in his science classes in Jackson-
ville, so he mailed me some information on that.
Q Let me stop you for a minute, Senator. Carl Hunt is an
employee of yours?
A That's correct. He's an insurance agent.
Q Do you have any other relationship with him, social or
through your church, or political, or anything of that
A Never knew him until he came and was employed by me.
Q What does he do in your business?
A He was setting up a new area called prepaid legal insurance,
and that's when I first met him on that, and we traveled
a couple of places out-of-state to look at other companies,
came back and set up a program, and he was handling the
program, setting it up, new policies, getting it approved,
those kind of things.
Q Is he still doing that?
A On a very, very limited basis. The program did not pan
out as we hoped it would. The money was not there and the
business, so he's doing other things now, and really not
Q Is he still employed?
A He is a licensed agent with us, but he's not drawing any
kind of salary or any expenses or anything.
Q He did not himself give you anything in writing that later
became SB 482?
A No, no. He gave me background material on the subject.
Q Carl Hunt did?
A Yes, but he never gave me the particular piece of legislation
that ultimately was passed.
Q Then Larry Fisher, if I understand your testimony, actually
provided you with a copy of the bill that became Senate
Q Along with some background material.
A Basically became a Senate bill.
Q You were served, I believe, with a subpoena duces tecum
that listed some documents on it, were you not? Did you
happen to see that in your subpoena?
A Golly! You know, I read that, but I thought that was just
telling me the time and place.
(Off the record.)
Q You've just told me off the record that you either forgot
to bring all the information requested in the duces tecum
or that you just overlooked that.
A That's correct.
MR. CEARLEY: I would like a stipulation
with you, Mr. Williams, that we could be furnished the materials
listed in that duces tecum within a few days of this deposition,
so that we can have them attached to the deposition.
THE WITNESS: That's fine.
MR. CEARLEY: Can we stipulate to that?
MR. WILLIAMS: Be glad to stipulate
that anything Senator Holsted will give us we'll be glad to give
MR. CEARLEY: I'd like, also, although
it may not be necessary to do it, to adjourn this deposition - not
right now, but today - with the understanding that if there are
any other issues raised by those materials that we could reconvene
the deposition at some later convenient date and pursue that.
THE WITNESS: Fine.
MR. WILLIAMS: It's agreeable to us.
Q You had gotten to Larry Fisher, the science teacher. My
understanding was that he's actually a math teacher at the
Southside Junior High School, I believe, in Jacksonville.
Do you know?
A I understood he was teaching some science classes. Now,
what his qualifications are, I don't know.
Q Just go ahead and tell me what dialogue you had with him
and what he did and what you did.
A Okay. He mailed that to me and I read the information and
visited with him on the telephone, to be sure that it was,
as far as he could tell me, a valid scientific theory, not
something that was just trying to gloss over anything. So
I became satisfied that that could be taught as science
in the school systems, and took the model legislation that
he sent me, and I took that to the Legislative Council.
Everything that we do - me, as a
senator - has to be drafted in the form of legislation
that conforms with the way we do it in Arkansas. So the
Legislative Council drafts all our legislation, and I took
the bill to the Legislative Council and asked them to draft
it, asked them to be sure that it would conform to the way
we do things in the Senate, and ultimately, if it became
law, the way it ought to read on Arkansas books. So they
did that and brought it back to me.
Q Did you give that bill to Kern Treat? Is that who you deal
A I deal with Kern, but I don't believe he worked on it, and
I don't recall who worked on the bill. I can find out, but
I don't recall who brought it back to me.
Q Was the bill transformed overnight or within a day or two
to an Arkansas form or style?
A It took about three or four days, is my recollection, at
that time. I had a legislative assistant who dealt with the
Council on that. I would give the stuff to her and say,
"Get this drafted for me," and then she would get it drafted
and come back, and we'd make any changes or anything that
Q What's her name?
A Treeca Dyer.
A T-r-e-e-c-a, I believe, Dyer, D-y-e-r.
Q Does she live here in Little Rock or North Little Rock?
A She lives in Little Rock.
Q Do you know where?
A No, I don't.
Q Does she still work for you?
A No. She was in the process of just completing law school
and getting ready to study for the Bar, this current Bar
examination, and I just employed her for during the session.
Q Do you know where she could be located or contacted?
A She's here in Little Rock. Her mother and father live in
North Little Rock, and I'm sure she could be located.
Q What's her father's name?
A Jimmy Dyer, and he works for the North Little Rock School
System. I think she had dialogue with the Council on getting
the bill drafted, because I didn't have the time at that time
to do that.
Q Was the content of the bill changed at all or was any of the
wording of the bill changed from the time you got it until
it came out of the machinery of the Legislative Council?
A I don't think the major content of the bill was changed.
I think they may have rearranged some of the sections to
fit the way we drafted our legislation.
Q It was just basically formated?
A Uh-huh. To my understanding yes, that's correct.
Q Do you know where that model legislation came from?
A The letterhead said Citizens for Fairness in Education,
Q Do you know who that is?
A I found out that Mr. Paul Ellwanger is the one who did the
work on that, but I didn't know at that time. Had no
contact with them when I received the legislation.
Q Did you have any contact with them or a representative of
that organization prior to the time the bill was passed
and signed into law?
Q Have you had to this date any contact with Mr. Ellwanger
or his representative?
A I've not talked to him. I don't recall, other than I
think I sent them when it passed a copy and told them
that the legislation had passed - just to the letterhead -
and I may have received a congratulatory letter back from
them or something like that, but that's the only kind of
conversation I've had with them.
Q Would you have a copy of your cover letter and whatever you
sent to them?
A I should have.
Q Would you have any objection to furnishing that to Mr.
Williams or Mr. Campbell or that we could have a look at it?
A No. I have no problem with it.
Q You received back from the Legislative Council, then, a
bill in the standard style that's used in the Arkansas
Q What did you do from that point ... and, if you will, I
won't stop and interrupt you. Just tell me the course that
bill took through the Senate and the House as far as you
A I signed two copies and turned it in. It was then sent to
the printer, printed, brought back and inserted in all the
books in the Senate, and read across the desk. I'm out of
sequence there. It was read across the desk first, first
and second time, and sent to committee.
Q Do you recall the dates that these things were done?
A No, sir. I can find out.
Q My notes reflect that the bill was actually introduced on
February 24, 1981. Does that sound about right?
A I don't have any idea. I've forgot about dates on that.
I can find out from my Legislative Digest. (Looking at
document.) It should say on there, because it should be
Q It's not that important.
A No, I'm sorry, it's not. That's when the Governor signed
it. I can find out from my Legislative Digest. I turned
it in. It was sent to committee.
Q What committee did it go to?
A Judiciary Committee.
Q What normally happens when a bill is referred to committee
that's introduced in the Senate?
A It's put on the calendar of the committee, and the next
committee meeting you start down the bills and consider as
many as you can during that committee meeting, and you keep
working during your meetings till you try to get everything
out of committee that you can get out.
Q Those committee meetings are public committee meetings that
sometimes include public hearings, do they not?
A That's correct.
Q Was there any hearing of any sort set or held with regard
to this bill in the Senate?
A We had set a hearing. The chairman had agreed to have a
hearing on the bill. We were running down to the latter
part of the session. I visited with the committee members
and obtained a majority of votes in the committee necessary
to pull the bill out of committee with a "Do Pass" recom-
mendation. So I took a slip of paper to them - and I can't
recall the formal name for it, but it's a form that's used -
and they all signed that form saying. "We will vote for
this bill. Do Pass out of committee", so I pulled it out
of the committee with a "Do Pass" recommendation, and it
went to the floor.
Q And there were no hearings as such held in that committee?
A That's correct.
Q Is that customary or is that unusual?
A Not unusual at all.
Q Was there any request made to you or to the committee to
your knowledge that there be a public hearing on that bill?
A No. The main reason in having a hearing in the committee
is to educate the members of the committee about the piece
of legislation so you can get their vote on it. I had the
necessary votes to get it out of committee so it could go
to the floor for a full vote there and discussion on the
floor of the Senate, so there was no need to have that
Q How many votes did that require?
A There are seven members and it required four, and I had
four signatures, four members of the committee to get it out.
Q Would there be any way for me to track that? Are records
kept of who approved that or how it got out of committee?
A Probably in the journal, because that's a matter of public
Q Would it reflect who signed that?
Q Do you recall who the committee members were that signed it?
A Myself, Kim Hendren from Gravette, Max Howell and Olen
Hendrix. No, I'm sorry, not Olen, Morrell Gathright from
Q And the only effect of your having signed that along with
them was to allow that bill to get out of committee with
a "Do Pass" recommendation?
A Well, I was a member of the committee...
Q Yes, I understand.
A ... and it needed four votes, and that was the four that it
Q Did you present to Senators Hendren, Howell, and Gathright
any supporting materials or any literature or anything
other than the bill itself when you discussed that with them?
A I just explained to them the intent of the legislation.
That's normally what's done in those situations. You explain
the bill to them, and they all knew that it would come up
for a full vote on the senate floor and everybody would have
an opportunity to discuss it at that point, which was really...
The issue was to get it out so that instead of having a
hearing with just seven members present, we could have a
hearing with 35 senators and let everybody get the benefit
and not have to duplicate that all over again.
Q Tell me, then, what happened subsequent to that.
A It went to the Senate and was put on the calendar. It
was brought up for a vote, discussed. The normal procedure
is the author stands up and explains his piece of legislation,
discusses why he wants it passed, what he wants to do with
it, why he introduced it. Then they allow the opposition
to speak, and then you allow proponent, opponent, proponent,
opponent, until everybody's had their say. Questions can
be asked at any time. When everybody's through talking
then you take a vote.
Q Is there a record made of that?
A No, sir, there is not a formal record of the discussion.
Q Is there a tape-recording or anything made of that?
A To my knowledge there is not. Some of the stuff goes days
and days. I mean, you can imagine on some of them, and to
my knowledge I don't think they've ever done that.
Q Would it be impossible to reconstruct what was said in
that debate on the floor?
A I think practically speaking it would be impossible to
reconstruct any of that, because you have questions all
Q Tell me to the best of your recollection what the course of
that debate was and how long it took place.
A Well, I presented the bill and answered questions on it.
The majority of the questions were were we meddling in
school affairs that the schools ought to have more control
over, and I answered those questions. We discussed that.
That comes up on every piece of legislation that involves
school systems. Somebody says, "Well, we ought not to be
doing this." They asked me particular questions about the
bill that they didn't understand, wording and language, and
I think two people spoke for the piece of legislation.
Nobody spoke in opposition, and then the vote was taken.
Q It's not customary, is it, to have any type of public hearing
before the full Senate on pending legislation?
A It is customary and we do it quite often if people request
Q Was there a request of that sort made?
A No request made to have anybody else. Invariably if somebody
does not understand a piece of legislation and they want
some experts to come in and testify on it, it's very common
for people to request it, and it would be the author's
prerogative to say yes or no, and that's depending on
whether he wanted ... you know, how he felt like it'd
help him pass his legislation, and nobody requested that.
Everybody seemed to understand the piece of legislation
when I finished explaining it and after the people spoke
Q You said there were two people who spoke for it?
A (Affirmative nod.)
Q Who was the other one?
A I think Kim Hendren and to the best of my recollection
Senator Howell spoke for the legislation. They were the
two senators that spoke. Now, there were a lot of questions,
and a lot of times in the questioning you're speaking for
or against the piece of legislation just by the way you ask
questions. You understand.
Q I understand.
A There was a lot of comment and discussion on the floor about
Q You said that part of the questioning was to the effect
that some people thought this might be meddling in the
affairs of the Department of Education?
Q Did you respond to that?
A Yes, sir, I certainly did.
Q What was your response to that?
A I just reviewed with them that we in the Senate that year
had done things requiring school systems to do certain
things, to not do certain things. We required certain
subjects to already be taught in the school systems. It
was not like we were doing this for the first time, and
that it was quite common, that it was our obligation as
elected representatives of the people of the State of
Arkansas to reflect those wishes through legislation about
what we think the school systems ought to be doing.
So that's pretty much the thrust of
the argument that I used, and apparently they agreed with
Q Did you cite any specific examples of things that were
required to be taught?
A We require Arkansas history to be taught in the school
Q Is that by statute?
A I think ... I'm not certain whether that's by statute or
whether that's by directive of the Education Department.
Q Do you know of any subject or subject matter that's
required by statute to be taught in the Arkansas school
system other than the subject of Act 590?
A No. I really haven't researched it, though. There may
be. I just ... I didn't go ...
Q That's all right. I just wanted to find out if you knew
if there was.
A I didn't know of any.
Q How long would you estimate the whole process took on the
floor of the Senate for the bill to be considered and voted
A I guess 30-45 minutes.
Q There were no non-member speakers either for or against the
Q And there was not a public hearing as such other than on
A By public hearing you mean the public having access to the
Q Yes, sir.
A That's correct. It was only done by the senators.
Q Was there any public announcement of any sort that this
matter would be considered on the Senate's agenda on that
A No. It's very difficult to do that, because a lot of times
you get hung on one particular piece of legislation and
may spend the whole day on that and never get to anything
else. I know many times teachers have come up there when
they thought we were going to vote on some legislation
concerning them, and it might be two or three days later
before we got to it. There's just no way to do that. There
was plenty of announcement in the papers about what was
Q Lots of media interest?
A When it got out of committee ... because the press knew
that because it went to the calendar ... When it got out
of committee and was reported out with "Do Pass" and put
on the calendar, the media publicized that considerably
across the state and people knew, because there were people
outside contacting the senators from all over the state.
Q Did anyone contact you about that?
A Oh, yes. Understatement.
Q More people than you can recall?
A Unbelievable, yes. Of course, that was just the tip of
the iceburg. I never realized the number of people that
would contact and come up to the Senate and House.
Q While the legislation was pending, Senator Holsted, at any
point before the Governor signed it, did you receive any
written communications from any organizations, groups, or
individuals in support or opposition to the bill?
MR. WILLIAMS: Excuse me. To clarify
the question ... Before it was passed?
MR. CEARLEY: Yes, prior to its
Q I'm sorry. Let me clarify that. Before the Governor
signed it, which I believe was on March 19th, did you
receive any written communications or literature or
materials in support of or opposition to SB 482 from any
individual or group?
A Yes, I did.
Q Did you make any use of those materials?
A You mean furnish them to anybody else or anything?
Q Yes, sir.
A No. I just considered those as correspondence with me
personally, and I answered most of them and just filed them.
MR. WILLIAMS: So the record's clear,
the question - at least to me, maybe not in the record - is a
little bit ambiguous. Are you talking about prior to the time
the Senate and the House passed it but before the Governor signed
it or the entire period before the Governor signed it?
MR. CEARLEY: The whole period from
when the legislation was introduced, or when it was handed to
you as a model act, until the Governor signed it. What I'm
getting at, Senator, is that if you don't have any objection I'd
like to see whatever materials were submitted to you either in
support of or opposition to that bill, if you can lay your hands
THE WITNESS: I've got boxes full of
it, if you'd like to spend the time going through it. You know,
I was sent books, stacks of books from people concerning this.
Q What kinds of books?
A Concerning creation-science, evolution-science.
Q Did you receive any books from a man named Henry Morris
or from Dwayne Gish or from Richard Bliss or from any
of the various creation-science organizations?
A Yes, I did.
Q Did you look at those materials?
A No. I really can't say that I looked at them other than
just maybe briefly thumbing through them. I received so
much information, if I'd tried to read everything that
came to me I'd still be reading. There was no way for
me to even read through and decide what I wanted to read
and what I didn't want to read. I couldn't do that. A
lot of that was concerning the science aspect of creation-
science and evolution-science, and that was not ... That's
not my field and is not my decision. That will be done by
the scientists and by the people that write the textbooks.
I felt like that was not even part of what I was trying
to do, in the sense that I couldn't ...
Q Do I understand you to be saying that the materials furnished
to you debated the issue of whether creation was science
or not science or whether it was good science or bad
science and so forth?
Q Are those materials segregated in your office? Did you
keep them in any manner where they could be retrieved?
A I don't understand what you mean by that.
Q Can you lay your hands on those materials?
A Yes. Most of the stuff I think I've saved. Some of the
Q Would you object to furnishing those to Mr. Williams and
allowing us an opportunity to examine them?
A Not at all.
MR. CEARLEY: Would you do that?
MR. WILLIAMS: I don't think there is
any ground for any privilege, but if I look through and determine
that there would be some, I would have to reserve the right...
MR. CEARLEY: Then you can state that,
MR. WILLIAMS: ... but otherwise, of
Q Did you receive any text materials or teaching materials
A Yes, I did.
Q Did you take the opportunity to look at those?
A Yes. That was the one thing that I really considered
after determining to the best of my ability that there
was valid scientific evidence supporting creation-science.
I contacted North Little Rock School System and reviewed
their textbooks and tried to -- get some advice from
Jimmy Dyer, the man who reviews the textbooks there in
the North Little Rock School System -- about what is
taught around the state, and he got me some sample
textbooks and I looked through them to see what was being
taught in the State of Arkansas.
Q Were any text materials or teaching materials submitted
directly to you by representatives of any of the various
publishers who produce creation-science materials?
A Not to my knowledge. As I said, I received a lot of books
that I didn't really have time to look at that I just
Q Do you still have the materials that were furnished to
you by Mr. Dyer?
Q Were those materials that were currently in use in the
North Little Rock School System?
A That's correct. My sister-in-law is the head of the
biology department at Ole Main, and I got her textbook
that she uses to teach biology.
Q What's her name?
A Joy Phillips, and she brought it by and I looked through it.
Q Do you recall the name of it or the publisher?
A No, sir, I don't.
Q It's the one currently in use in the North Little Rock
A I don't think they've changed this year. They used it
Q What did you find of interest in that textbook?
A I was purely looking to see if there was any other mention
of anything other than evolution. When they talked about
the origin of species I was looking to see if anything else
was taught. There would have been no need for the legis-
lation if anything else was being taught.
Q Did you just look for a chapter on evolution or did you
look at the overall presentation of the book, the division
of animal kingdoms and the development of various genuses
and species of animals?
A Well, I looked through the book just to see where they
address the origin of species and any reverences made in
that and where they specifically discussed the evolutionary
process, and that's primarily what I looked for.
Q I assume that you found no statements about creation-
science in that textbook?
A No, none at all.
Q Did that play any part in your feelings or your support for
A Certainly. There would have been no need for me to intro-
duce the legislation.
Q 284, which is it?
A 482, I think it is. The bill that ultimately became 590.
There would have been no need to introduce the legislation
if it had been presented.
Q Okay. We've tracked the bill to its being voted on ...
A To the Senate.
Q ... by the whole Senate.
A Okay. After it passed it went to the House. It was read
across the desk in the house and sent to the Education
Committee. At that point the publicity, of course, was
considerably more in the newspapers and in the media than
it had been at any point in time, because now it had reached
the status of from being considered as a piece of legis-
lation to having passed one body. So the media was heavily
publicizing the bill at that point.
It went to the Education Committee
and a hearing was held in the Education Committee. That
was a public hearing. They allowed the proponents and
the opposition to speak and present evidence, and it was
voted on in committee and came out with a "Do Pass."
Q Did you attend that hearing?
A Yes, I did.
Q Do you recall how many people appeared for and against the
A It was either two or three on each side. I'm not certain.
Q Do you recall who they were?
A I spoke for the bill. Cliff Hoofman spoke for the bill,
who is a member of the House, and Larry Fisher spoke for
Mike Wilson, a House member from Jackson-
ville, spoke against the bill. The AEA, Arkansas Education
Association, spoke against the bill, and there may have been
one other group, I'm not certain, and then, of course, they
were questioned by members of the committee who either were
for or against the bill and able to express their views
through their questioning and through their statements.
Then, of course, the chairman allowed the members of the
committee to make any statements they wanted to, and then
they took a vote.
How many members were there of that committee?
A I don't recall what the membership is in the House.
Q Do you recall how many dissenting votes there were to the
A I don't remember. I was just looking for the number of
votes necessary to get it out.
Q Do you recall whether Bishop Kenneth Hicks was present at
A I don't remember seeing him.
Q Do you recall whether anyone requested time and opportunity
to speak that was denied time and opportunity to speak?
A No. I know the chairman limited the time for debate, and
that's normal because ...
Q What was the limitation?
A I don't recall. I think it was 15 minutes a side. By
the time you have questions from all the committee members
while you're making your testimony it drags into considerable
Q Who was the chairman of that committee?
A I don't remember.
Q It went to the House Committee on Education?
A That's correct.
Q What committee did it come out of in the Senate?
A Judiciary Committee.
Q Why was it referred to the Judiciary Committee? Is that
a matter of comity because it was your bill and you were
a member of that committee?
A Yes. If it's possible the bills will be sent to the
committees that the member sits on, so that he can handle
legislation. Otherwise, it's difficult ... When you're
in a committee meeting and your legislation is being
considered in another committee, you've either got to leave
your committee and go handle your legislation and then
miss voting on something in your committee. If it's
possible we try to put them in the committees that the
members are on.
Q Can I conclude from what you've said that the bill was
never considered officially by the Senate Committee on
A Officially as a committee, meeting as the Education
Committee, it was not, but every one of the Education
Committee members sits as a member of the full Senate
and voted on it on the Senate floor.
Q Are you a member of the Education Committee?
A No, sir.
Q So the bill was voted out of committee ...
A Of the House ...
Q ... House Education Committee.
A ... and went to the floor of the House. Then it was put
on the calendar, and the gentleman that was handling the
bill in the House, Representative Hoofman, got the bill
up for a vote on the floor of the House.
By this time the public contact was
tremendous with the House members. As a matter of fact,
I know they quit taking phone calls to the respective
House members, they were getting so many phone calls and
the switchboard just couldn't handle them and they couldn't
get the man out to talk to people. There were too many.
It received a vote -- in fact, I think it received three
votes -- and ultimately passed.
Q What do you mean "it received three votes"?
A Well, I think they voted on it three different times through
their parliamentary procedure, and they do different
procedure than the Senate and I'm not familiar with how
they do their parliamentary maneuvering, but ...
Q You were around and I assume aware somewhat of the media
attention and public attention that the bill was getting
at that time.
A Yes, sir.
Q Do you know what kind of response the bill was drawing from
the public that caused the members of the House to quit
taking their calls? Were they getting a lot of support or
a lot of opposition or was it mixed?
A There was some opposition, but the overwhelming majority
of the calls were in support of the legislation.
Q Did the bill change form at all between the time it was
introduced as a Senate bill until it was passed by both
A No, sir, I don't think so. You mean was it amended anywhere?
A To my knowledge it was not.
Q So what we have as Act 590 is the same language as prepared
by the Legislative Council form the material submitted to
A That's correct. They would have had to ... I think they
tried to amend it maybe in the House, but did not adopt
Q Were any hearings held, public hearings held, by the House
to your knowledge?
A That's the House Education Committee.
Q That was the only hearing held?
A Was the only hearing. Then, of course, they discussed
it among the 100 members of the House as they voted on it.
Q You had, I assume, at some point, Senator, conversations
with the Governor. At least the newspaper articles indicate
A That's correct.
Q ... in which the Governor indicated to you that he would
sign the bill, as the newspapers reported, I think, if it
passed by a large majority or got good support, I think
were his words.
A That's correct.
Q Is that basically the commitment he made to you?
A Basically yes. Basically if I got it passed by more than
just 1 or 2 votes, where he could see it was a substantial
majority of both houses, he would sign it.
Q Can you recount for me what your dealings were with the
Governor prior to the passage and signing of the Act?
How much contact did you have with him about the bill?
A Very little. I notified him about the piece of legislation
when it passed the Senate. His staff had a copy of it, and
I briefly explained to him the legislation and what I was
trying to do, and then he had his staff review it and
advise him on it.
Q Do you have any personal knowledge of the extent that he
dealt with his staff on the bill?
A No, sir.
Q Tell me about the extent to which you explained the bill
to him. Did you take it section by section or word by
A No. That was up to his staff to do that and get back to
me on any questions they had. I didn't have the time nor
did he have the time at that point to go through it word
by word. I explained to him the general thrust of the
legislation and what I was trying to do with it, and asked
him to get back in touch with me if he had any problems with
Q I gather we're talking of a 5-minute conversation or
something like that.
A Well, no. You know, you'll spend 15 or 30 minutes by the
time you get in and just talk about it and discuss it a
Q Did you go over to the Governor's office to do that?
Q Was that the only conversation you had with him at which
that was the subject of the discussion?
A After the bill passed the House I came back. I was out of
town and I returned to the state and went in the day
after the legislature adjourned, I believe - I may be off
a day or two there - and sat down with him and went over
the bill with him and with his staff, and this was before
he had signed it.
Q How long did you spend with him on that occasion?
A Oh, probably an hour, hour and a half.
Q Who else was present when you did that?
A I don't recall who his staff was.
Q Could it have been Bill Bethea?
A No. It was a female, I believe.
Q Joan Vehik? Do you know her?
A I don't know Joan. This girl was on the Legislative Council
before she went on his staff. I can't ...
Q Is there any way that you could find out what her name is?
A I'll find out. I'll be glad to.
Q Would you furnish that to Mr. Williams and Mr. Campbell?
Q Was that a "Yes, I will"?
A Yes, sir. I will do that.
Q Did the Governor then sign the bill within a short period
A Yes, sir. I think he signed it within two or three days
Q Did you have any further contact with him about it?
Q Did you submit to the Governor or to anyone on his behalf
any of the materials that you had received through the
mails or otherwise in support of or opposition to the bill?
A No. Oh, I'm sorry, yes, I did. I submitted a copy of some
materials I had received.
Q Did you receive those back?
A No, because I made him a copy. It was materials I had
gathered together for a presentation on the Senate floor,
and I copied some of the documents that I had and gave them
to his staff.
Q Do you still have those together?
A I think I do. I don't have them in the form that I
presented them to the Senate, but I think I can show you,
give you copies of what I have him.
Q Would you indicate in some manner what those documents consist
of and furnish those to Mr. Williams too?
A Yes, I sure will.
Q How would you describe your relationship with the Governor
at that time?
Q Do you have any relationship with him or did you prior to
the time that he was elected Governor?
A No, sir.
Q Did you even know Frank White?
A Not other than by reputation. I had never really met him
Q Do you have any personal relationship with him now?
A No, other than just ... Well, of course, through the
legislation we've been brought close because we've dealt
on that and discussed it after he signed it, all the
publicity and stuff, but other than that ...
Q The newspapers indicated that you have stated that you had ---
either you stated or the Governor did --- that there was a
commitment by the Governor to sign the bill if it passed
with good support. Did you feel that you had a commitment
from him to do that?
A I felt like I had a commitment based on the way I had
explained the legislation to him to sign it, but I felt like
at any time, if he was advised by his staff that was not the
way it was legally or they misunderstood, I felt like he
would veto it, or he could in good conscience tell me why
and I would understand.
Q Senator, did you at any time prior to the introduction or
after the introduction and prior to the enactment of Act 590
consult with anybody in the Arkansas Department of Education?
A No, sir.
Q Did you consult with any religious leaders in the community
or in the state?
A What do you mean by "consult"?
Q I mean did you seek out the counsel of any religious leaders
in the community or in the state about the advisability of
this Act or seek their comments on it?
A I had many contact me, and I explained to them what I was
doing. None of them knew that I was going to introduce
the piece of legislation or really knew anything about it
until it was introduced, and, of course, then they contacted
me, but I never sought them out.
Q Did any organizations contact you prior to the introduction
of the bill?
Q The only contact you had, as I understand it, with Mr.
Ellwanger's group was through the fact that he had furnished
to Mr. Fisher the model legislation, is that right?
Q Do you know how that model bill came into being?
A I have since the time the legislation passed, it's been
explained to me, but I don't know whether that's the fact
or not. I don't really know. I have never talked to him
Q You still haven't talked to him personally?
A No, I haven't.
Q I have handed you a package or a group of articles that have
appeared in local newspapers in which you are quoted, and
I think they're arranged in chronological order. I'd like
to just kind of go through these and ask you about some of
the statements that are attributed to you. Do you have
those in front of you?
A Yes, sir, I do.
MR. CEARLEY: Do you mind my attaching
these as exhibits?
MR. WILLIAMS: No. I would prefer
that you did.
MR. CEARLEY: I'm not going to mark
them. I'm going to identify them by the date and the byline and
so forth, if that's all right with you.
MR. WILLIAMS: Why don't you just make
it a group exhibit?
MR. CEARLEY: I can do that. Let me
identify these and then I'll refer to each of them and have the
Senator identify them. I have marked as Plaintiff's Exhibit 1 to
the deposition of Senator Holsted an article, copy of an article,
appearing in the ARKANSAS GAZETTE on Sunday, March 22, 1981, that
is two-pages long; an article appearing in the ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT
on Wednesday, June 3, 1981; an article appearing in the ARKANSAS
DEMOCRAT on June 9, 1981; an article appearing in the GAZETTE on
June 10, 1981; an article from the ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT dated
June 10, 1981; another article from the ARKANSAS GAZETTE dated
June 10, 1981, entitled, "Religion Isn't at Issue, Holsted
Insists"; an article dated June 14, 1981, from the ARKANSAS
DEMOCRAT; an article from the ARKANSAS GAZETTE dated Wednesday,
June 24, 1981; and then a 4-page article from the SOUTHWEST TIMES
RECORD dated June 14, 1981. I'd like to attach those as
Plaintiff's Exhibit 1 to Senator Holsted's deposition.
(Off the record.)
(Whereupon, said identified articles
were collectively marked as an exhibit to the deposition, and
are transmitted as a group with a transcript of the testimony.)
Q First, if you would, Senator Holsted, look at the article
dated March 22, 1981, appearing in the ARKANSAS GAZETTE,
in which your picture appeared on the front page of the
newspaper under the headline "'Creation-science' Bill
Prompted By Religious Beliefs, Sponsor Says." Do you
have that in front of you?
A Yes, sir.
Q In the first paragraph the article indicates that you said
you introduced the bill because of your own religious con-
victions and that the legislation is - quotes - of course -
close quotes - related to religion. Is that an accurate
A I would say part of it is.
Q Explain to me how it's accurate and how it's inaccurate.
A I do everything in my life based on my convictions, just
as you do and just as anyone does. Whatever my religious
beliefs are concerning the creation of this universe are
not expressed in this bill, but I felt like, in reviewing
the textbook material and other material and determining
to the best of my knowledge that creation-science had some
valid scientific evidence to go along with it, that it was
not being presented in the school system. And that's
basically why I introduced it. When they asked me that
question I can't say that no, it's not associated with
my religious beliefs, because everything I do is based
on what I believe in.
Q Well, let me ask you about some of the things that you
believe. Are you a member of an organized religious
organization, a church?
A The Lakewood United Methodist Church.
Q How long have you been?
A My family was a charter member of that church.
Q How would you describe or can you describe for me what
a fundamentalist is in the common understanding of the word?
A I don't have any idea.
Q Do you hold any fundamentalist beliefs?
A I don't know what funda-------- ...
MR. WILLIAMS: I object to the question.
Q Let me ask you if you believe literally in the biblical
account of the creation as presented in the Book of Genesis?
A Yes, I do.
Q Did you find that the language in what is now Act 590
was consistent with your belief in the literal interpretation
of the creation as presented in Genesis?
A No. I don't think overall it is consistent. If I wanted
to teach my religious beliefs in school I would have the
instructor from Bible Study Fellowship teach the Genesis
account of creation.
Q Do you find as it regards the teaching of creation-science
and as that is defined in Act 590 that those elements are
consistent with your belief in the literal interpretation
of the Book of Genesis? I mean, I understand that to be
the purpose, to present scientific evidences in support of
creation, is it not?
A That there is a Creator, as opposed to no Creator, a
Creator in the same sense of a Creator that's mentioned in
the Declaration of Independence, not as a Creator that's
mentioned in Genesis.
Q Let me back up for a moment. The article in the GAZETTE
quotes you as saying that you introduced the bill because
of your own religions convictions. Did you say that?
Q And that the legislation is - quotes - "of course" -
related to religion. Did you say that?
A I don't recall saying that specifically.
MR. WILLIAMS: Just to clarify before
answering the question, I think the record reflects that the only
part in quotes there is "of course."
MR. CEARLEY: I'm sorry, that's true.
THE WITNESS: I don't recall saying
that. I was saying it in the sense that everything I do is based
on my beliefs, as is everything that you do or anybody else does.
Q Do you think that the bull is related to religion?
A Not at all. I specifically did everything in my power to
make sure that it would not be related to religion.
Q Let me go on to the question I was trying to get at, and
I want to be as precise with you as I can.
A I understand.
Q The definition of creation-science as it appears under
Section 4 of Act 590 lists six elements. It says:
"Creation-science includes the scientific evidences and
related inferences that indicate: (1) Sudden creation of
the universe ..." et cetera, et cetera, and it runs (1)
through (6). My question to you is: Do you find that the
elements as set out there are consistent with your religious
beliefs in the creation?
A No, not all of them. Part of them may be; part of them
may not be, are not.
Q Let me come back to that, then. Refer, if you will, to
the article again in the ARKANSAS GAZETTE of March 22, 1981.
You are quoted as saying in the third paragraph on the
first page: "I believe in a Creator and I believe that
God created this universe. I can't separate the bill from
that belief. All of we legislators have prejudices and
beliefs that affect what legislation we introduce. My
job as a politician and as a senator from North Little Rock
is to introduce something that represents my beliefs and
the beliefs of the majority of my constituents, which I am
convinced that this bill does." Is that an accurate quotation?
A Yes, sir.
Q You are further quoted as saying that the bill - quotes -
"probably does" - close quotes - favor the viewpoint of
religious fundamentalists -- those who strictly interpret
the Bible -- over religious groups that make more liberal
interpretations. Is that a fair statement of what you
indicated to the reporter?
A Yes. I said "probably does." That was just an opinion on
Q You are further quoted as saying: "Probably the ones who
are going to be the strongest supporters of the legislation
are fundamentalists." Is that accurate?
A That was my guess. Well, yes, that was accurate. That was
Q And you are quoted as saying that you are a "born-again
Q ... and then absent quotation marks a fundamentalist.
A The only thing I said was born-again Christian.
Q And the reporter concluded that that meant fundamentalist?
A I would assume that's correct.
Q Do you consider yourself a fundamentalist?
A Never have thought about it. It's kind of like trying to
define liberal and conservative. They change every year,
so I don't like labels in that respect.
Q What do you mean by born-again Christian?
A I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior at a
point in time, well, in 1976.
Q Let me just ask you if you are a regular church-goer and
active in the church and so forth and your family is.
A Yes, sir.
Q Are you active in any other religious organizations?
A Christian Businessmen's Committee.
Q Any others?
A No, sir.
Q Do you have any contact in your religious work or your
work for the church with Governor White?
A No, sir.
Q Over on page 2 of that article you are quoted as saying,
with regard to a statement in Act 590 regarding preventing
the establishment of theologically liberal, humanist or
atheistic religions, that that section of the bill was
placed in the bill - quotes - "because it was the intent
to bend over backward to make it clear that the bill wasn't
designed to establish any religion in the schools" - end
quotes. Is that an accurate quotation?-
A Yes, sir.
Q And then further on in that paragraph you are quoted as
saying that the major point is that the bill, although it
has to do with what you acknowledge to be a religious
belief in creation, it won't favor any religious denomin-
ation, sect or creed over another. Is that a fair summary
of what you said to the reporter?
A I would disagree with that, because I'm not sure I
acknowledged it to be religious beliefs of creation. It
doesn't have anything to do with religious beliefs of
creation, the bill, and they're saying there that the
bill ... "... what he acknowledged to be religious beliefs
of creation ..." and I didn't acknowledge that.
Q But you did say that the bill won't favor any religious
denomination, sect or creed over another?
A That's correct.
Q You're further quoted as saying: "Even among religious
groups there are no telling how many viewpoints on creation."
Is that accurate?
A That's accurate.
Q Down at the bottom of that page there is a statement by
you that's in quotation marks: "I disagree that because
you introduce God into creation-science, then it's
religious", he said - meaning you. "I've interpreted it --"
and they inserted (the bill) -- "to mean that it won't
impose any religious doctrine, Baptist or Methodist or
whatever, over another. That is what the Supreme Court has
ruled that you can't do, teach one religious doctrine over
another. But that doesn't mean that you can't teach
alongside evolution the theory of a Creator. To me
creation-science means a Creator." Is that an accurate
Q In the next paragraph you're quoted as saying: "I think
you should teach the scientific theory of a Creator, but
not go any further than that."
A That's correct.
Q And then further, although it's not in quotes, you indicated
to the reporter to teach just evolution is to deprive students
of opposing scientific views, and that should be unconsti-
tutional. That is your feeling, is it not, Senator?
A That is correct. That's the main reason I introduced the
Q In the next paragraph you're quoted as saying: "But all
it really does ..." - referring to the bill - "... is
require balanced treatment of an educational subject,
evolution and creation, and it allows the State Department
of Education to set the curriculum and the criteria."
A That's correct.
Q I believe you've answered the other questions that are
raised by this about the origins of that bill, with one
exception. At the top of the last column on the right
the word "creation-science" appears inside a quotation to
the effect - and I quote - "I might not even have introduced
it if I'd known people were going to be asking me about
the specifics of creation-science. I might have gotten
scared off because I don't know anything about that stuff."
You've indicated earlier that you weren't a scientist ...
Q ... and didn't have the background to debate those issues
that scientists have been debating about this.
A That's correct.
Q When is the first time you saw the term, "creation-science,"
if you remember?
A The first time I heard it was when Carl Hunt contacted me,
and the first time I saw it written down was when I received
the model legislation. No, I'm sorry, he gave me some
books before I received the legislation.
Q Carl Hunt did?
Q Do you still have those books?
A No, I don't. I gave them back to him.
Q Do you recall what they were?
A No. It was six books and pretty thick books ...
Q What was their content?
A ... presenting the scientific evidence for creation-science
and discussing creation-science opposed to evolution-science,
and, you know, trying to fill me in on the background of the
whole issue, and there was just so much volume of material
there, I could never have read it all.
Q He's still in your employ. Do you know if he still has
A I'm sure he does.
Q Could you find out the names of those books?
Q Would you do that?
A Be glad to.
Q Names and publishers?
A You guys are going to put me to a lot of work, aren't you?
I thought you were going to do all the work.
MR. OSTERLOH: I presume Mr. Holsted
will furnish those to his attorney, the Attorney General's office,
and that you will see that they're distributed to us other
MR. WILLIAMS: Right.
THE WITNESS: I hope you guys read all
of these. Maybe you can tell me what they say, many of them.
Q Refer, if you will, Senator, to the next article which
appeared in the DEMOCRAT on Wednesday, June 3, 1981.
The headline is "Holsted may enter creationism case." It
indicates that a reporter interviewed you and that you
indicated that you could give the court a good idea of
what the legislative intent was, since you're the one who
sponsored the act.
A I said that. As I found out later, I didn't know what I was
Q Did you find that out after you consulted with the Attorney
A Well, yeah, I found out that legislative intent is the
legislative intent of 135 people that voted on it, not just
Q But to the extent that you dealt with the bill you think
you can give the court some insight at least into your
thinking and your motivation?
Q You expressed also, according to that article, surprise
that some representatives of various religions had taken a
stand against the creationism law. You're quoted as
saying: "I don't think they represent the cross-section
of the Christians of the state." Is that your belief?
Q You go on to say, according to the quotation, "I just find
it hard to believe that religious leaders want a theory
taught in the school system that is void of any mention
of a creator. I would have thought they would have been
on the other side." Is that another accurate quotation?
A That's an accurate quotation.
Q The article goes on to say that you indicated the material
you've seen is all scientific stuff and it doesn't have
anything to do with religion. Is that your belief?
A Yes. All the books that I had looked at was strictly
Q Refer, if you will, to the next article from the ARKANSAS
DEMOCRAT of June 9, 1981, headlined "Clark to ask lawyers'
advice on creationism-bill lawsuit." That article indicates
that Wendell Bird and John Whitehead contacted you and that
you brought them out to visit with the Attorney General.
Did you do that?
A No. I didn't bring them out here. I met them out here.
It had been arranged previously, and they asked me to come
and attend, so I came by.
Q Who contacted you? Did the Attorney General contact you?
A Carl Hunt contacted me.
Q Had you spoken with Mr. Bird or Mr. Whitehead prior to that
A The only thing I knew of either of the two gentlemen was
a Law Review article that had been written for the Yale Law
Journal by Wendell Bird, and I had that article to use in
presentation to the Senate, and that's the only think I knew
Q Have you read that article?
A Yes, sir.