SCOTUS may hear appeal on behalf of Christian coach

Friday, March 19, 2021
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

Bremerton (WA) football coach Joe KennedyAttorneys plan to try – again – to reinstate a high school football coach who was fired more than five years ago for kneeling to pray after games. They are hopeful their perseverance will eventually right a wrong.

"We'll continue to appeal this, whether that means going to the Ninth Circuit in full, which is called an en banc appeal, or whether taking this to the Supreme Court," says attorney Mike Berry of First Liberty Institute, the law firm representing Coach Joe Kennedy. "We're prepared to do whatever we need to do in order to defend Coach Kennedy and vindicate his rights."

Kennedy lost his job in late 2015 at Bremerton High School in Washington state for praying silently and alone for 15-30 seconds after a football game. Coach Kennedy had been doing this after games, but the school district did not like it and expressed concern that it could be viewed as an endorsement of religion. Still, Kennedy continued and was fired. The issue has been in and out of court ever since. (See One News Now reports on the case)

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case in January 2019 and allowed it to continue through the court system. A year later, a U.S. district court granted the school district's motion for summary judgment. The case was then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which heard oral argument in January. On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit held that the school could ban the coach from taking a knee in brief, personal prayer after games.

Berry

"We had hoped for a favorable outcome here," says Berry. "It's also disappointing because the court has essentially said that a public school employee like Coach Kennedy can be fired and the First Amendment doesn't protect them, even though all he was trying to do was have a personal, brief prayer by himself silently on the 50-yard line after football games.  [And] he was fired for that."

Meanwhile, Berry says the coach is holding up well. "I certainly don't want to say it's been easy for him, but he's a very tough, resilient guy and he always has a positive outlook," says the attorney. "I think that's going to serve him well here."

First Liberty's page for the Joe Kennedy case

Comments will be temporarily unavailable. Thank you for your patience as we restore this service!

We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details

SIGN UP FOR OUR DAILY NEWS BRIEF

FEATURED PODCAST

VOTE IN OUR POLL

What are the most likely proposals to emerge from Biden's commission on the Supreme Court?

CAST YOUR VOTE

GET PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

SUBSCRIBE

LATEST AP HEADLINES

  Trump: The key to Republican success is more Trumpism
  Mother arrested after 3 children found slain in Los Angeles
  Maryland lawmakers override vetoes on sweeping police reform
High court halts Calif. virus rules limiting home worship
UK’s Prince Philip honored with 41-gun salutes after death
Alibaba fined $2.8 billion on competition charge in China
Biden assigns study on Supreme Court future

LATEST FROM THE WEB

Teachers union head ripped for anti-semitic remarks
Republicans slam Biden plan to send cash payments to Central America: 'This is madness'
Pete Buttigieg claims racism is 'physically built' into American highways: A 'conscious choice'
Trump flag violates Minnesota city ordinance -- but business owner willing to pay fines, 'go to jail'
North Korean education official reportedly executed for 'anti-party activities'

CARTOON OF THE DAY

Cartoon of the Day
NEXT STORY
High court issues 'strong strike' against Roe v. Wade

KY Gov Andy BeshearA pro-life advocate is viewing a recent Supreme Court announcement as a small but forward step.