The Supreme Court on Monday issued a ruling upholding the First Amendment right of free speech with regard to prayer. The Court ruled in favor of a high school football coach who was told he was not to pray on the field post-game in the case of Kennedy v. Bremerton School District.
The 6-3 ruling determined that the school district in 2015 violated the coach’s rights to free speech when they prohibited him from praying on the field, and that coach subsequently lost his job over the matter. The majority opinion was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was joined by Chief Justice Roberts, along with Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Amy Coney Barrett. Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the opinion, except as regards one section.

Coach Joseph Kennedy had lost his job as a coach because he would kneel in midfield post-games to offer a prayer, usually about 30 seconds. The firing was because the Bremerton School District believed that, to allow Kennedy to pray, would indicate that they were endorsing his religious beliefs. However, Gorsuch wrote, “That reasoning was misguided. Both the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment protect expressions like Mr. Kennedy’s.”

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