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1st amendment bars termination of
Kennedy v. Bremerton Sch Dist (US
Supreme Ct 06/27/2022)
Sent to Custom
Alerts™ subscribers on 06/27/2022
Joseph Kennedy lost his
job as a high school football coach in the Bremerton School
District after he knelt at midfield after games to offer a quiet
personal prayer. The trial court found that the "sole reason" for
the District's decision to suspend Mr. Kennedy was its perceived
"risk of constitutional liability" under the Establishment Clause
for his "religious conduct" after three games in October 2015. The
trial court granted summary judgment to the District and the 9th
The US Supreme Court (6-3) reversed,
ruling in favor of Coach Kennedy.
The Court said, "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.
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. Mr. Kennedy is entitled to
summary judgment on his First Amendment claims."
DISSENT argued that the Establishment Clause prohibits the
District from firing Kennedy, and claims that the majority
disregarded "overwhelming precedents."
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