Supreme Court Hands Huge Win to High School Football Coach in Post-Game Prayer Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has just handed a huge win to a former Washington high school football coach who lost his job for reciting a prayer on the 50-yard line after games.

The SCOTUS ruled that the Bremerton School District violated coach Joe Kennedy’s First Amendment rights.

Kennedy was fired from his job for praying alone after the district claimed it was an issue because it was in view of students.

“SCOTUS sides with a high school football coach in a First Amendment case about prayer at the 50-yard-line,” SCOTUS Blog said.

“In a 6-3 ruling, SCOTUS says the public school district violated the coach’s free speech and free exercise rights when it barred him from praying on the field after games.

“The opinion from Neil Gorsuch in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District.

“Sonia Sotomayor dissents, joined by Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.”

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the Court’s opinion that the district violated Kennedy’s First Amendment rights.

“Here, a government entity sought to punish an individual for engaging in a brief, quiet, personal religious observance doubly protected by the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment,” Gorsuch wrote.

“And the only meaningful justification the government offered for its reprisal rested on a mistaken view that it had a duty to ferret out and suppress.

“Religious observances even as it allows comparable secular speech. The Constitution neither mandates nor tolerates that kind of discrimination.”

According to Fox News:

“Joe Kennedy was a junior varsity head coach and varsity assistant coach with the Bremerton School District in Washington from 2008 to 2015.

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“He began the practice of reciting a post-game prayer by himself, but eventually students started joining him.

“According to court documents, this evolved into motivational speeches that included religious themes.

“After an opposing coach brought it to the principal’s attention, the school district told Kennedy to stop.

“He did, temporarily, then notified the school that he would resume the practice.

“The school district then offered to let Kennedy pray in other locations before and after games, or for him to pray on the 50-yard line after everyone else had left the premises, but he refused, insisting that he would continue his regular practice.

“After continuing the prayers at two more games, the school district placed Kennedy on leave.”

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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