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Christian soccer coach wins Supreme Court case over being fired for praying on subject after video games


Coach Joe Kennedy on the Bremerton High School soccer subject.(Photo: First Liberty Institute)

The United States Supreme Court has dominated {that a} Washington college district was mistaken to punish a highschool soccer coach for praying on the sphere after video games.

In a decision launched Monday morning, the Supreme Court dominated 6-3 that the Bremerton School District discriminated towards Coach Joe Kennedy.

Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the court docket’s opinion, being joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh.

“Kennedy prayed throughout a interval when college staff had been free to talk with a good friend, name for a reservation at a restaurant, test electronic mail, or attend to different private issues. He provided his prayers quietly whereas his college students had been in any other case occupied. Still, the Bremerton School District disciplined him anyway,” wrote Gorsuch.

“Both the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment shield expressions like Mr. Kennedy’s … The Constitution and the most effective of our traditions counsel mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and suppression, for spiritual and nonreligious views alike.”

In response to at this time’s opinion, Kennedy stated, “This is simply so superior. All I’ve ever needed was to be again on the sphere with my guys. I’m extremely grateful to the Supreme Court, my unbelievable authorized crew, and everybody who has supported us. I thank God for answering our prayers and sustaining my household by this lengthy battle.”

Kelly Shackelford, president, CEO and chief counsel for First Liberty, a non secular liberty legislation agency based mostly in Plano, Texas, which represented Kennedy, hailed the court docket’s resolution as a “great victory for Coach Kennedy and non secular liberty for all Americans.”

“Our Constitution protects the appropriate of each American to interact in non-public spiritual expression, together with praying in public, with out worry of getting fired,” she added. “We are grateful that the Supreme Court acknowledged what the Constitution and legislation have all the time stated — Americans are free to reside out their religion in public.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a dissent, joined by Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, by which she argued that “this Court persistently has acknowledged that faculty officers main prayer is constitutionally impermissible.”

“Official-led prayer strikes on the core of our constitutional protections for the spiritual liberty of scholars and their dad and mom, as embodied in each the Establishment Clause and the Free
Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” she wrote.

“This resolution does a disservice to colleges and the younger residents they serve, in addition to to our Nation’s longstanding dedication to the separation of church and state.”

Paul Cement, former U.S. Solicitor General and First Liberty community lawyer who argued Kennedy’s case earlier than the Justices, stated, “After seven lengthy years, Coach Kennedy can lastly return to the place he belongs — teaching soccer and quietly praying by himself after the sport. This is a superb victory for Coach Kennedy and the First Amendment.”

A religious Christian, Kennedy had a apply of going to the 50-yard line after highschool soccer video games and praying, typically with followers and college students becoming a member of him.

In 2015, the varsity district suspended Kennedy for praying on the sphere after video games and later determined to not renew his contract due to his refusal to cease praying on the sphere.

Kennedy sued the varsity district in 2016, accusing them of violating his spiritual freedom.

Earlier this 12 months, Shackelford said First Liberty was representing Kennedy as a result of “No instructor or coach ought to lose their job for merely expressing their religion whereas in public.”

A 3-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dominated towards the coach in 2017, whereas the Supreme Court initially refused to listen to his case in 2019.

In March of final 12 months, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit again ruled towards Kennedy, with Judge Milan D. Smith Jr. authoring the unanimous opinion.

“[T]right here is little doubt that an goal observer, acquainted with the historical past of Kennedy’s apply, would view his demonstrations as BSD’s endorsement of a specific religion. For that motive, BSD had enough justification for its remedy of Kennedy,” wrote Smith.

“BSD had a compelling state curiosity to keep away from violating the Establishment Clause, and it tried repeatedly to work with Kennedy to develop an lodging for him that may keep away from violating the Establishment Clause whereas however providing him choices that had been narrowly tailor-made to guard his rights …”

In January, the Supreme Court agreed to listen to an attraction within the case and heard oral arguments in late April, with the justices debating whether or not Kennedy’s prayer apply was coercive.

© The Christian Post

 



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