A federal judge has ruled that a history teacher at a Southern California public high school violated the First Amendment when he called creationism “superstitious nonsense” in a classroom lecture. The judge, James Selna, issued the ruling after a 16-month legal battle between a student, Chad Farnan, and his former teacher, James Corbett. Mr. Farnan’s lawsuit said Mr. Corbett had made more than 20 statements that were disparaging to Christians and their beliefs. The judge found that Mr. Corbett’s reference to creationism as “religious, superstitious nonsense” violated the First Amendment’s establishment clause. Courts have interpreted the clause as prohibiting government employees from displaying religious hostility. Mr. Corbett teaches at Capistrano Valley High School.