The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case of former Bremerton High School football coach Joe Kennedy, who made headlines for refusing the school’s request to cease prayer on the sidelines in 2017.
Bremerton coach turns to Supreme Court for second time in lawsuit over praying at games
A previous ruling from the 9th District Court stated that the Bremerton School District had not violated Kennedy’s religious and free speech rights when they told him not to pray with students after games on the football field.
After the school decided not to renew his contract, a years-long court battle ensued, beginning with Kennedy suing the school district in an attempt to get reinstated. After losing in district court, he filed his lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019. Justices declined to hear the case, ruling that while some of them did not necessarily agree with the lower court’s ruling, the case would be difficult to continue on factual grounds.
In July 2021, a U.S. Court of Appeals similarly declined to re-hear the case, leaving the Ninth Circuit District Court’s ruling in place.
At the time of their 2019 ruling, Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanagh had called the Ninth Circuit’s view on free speech “troubling,” indicating that the case may still “justify review in the future.” That position eventually formed the basis for Kennedy’s second appeal to the Supreme Court filed in September of 2021.
Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and former Seattle Seahawk Steve Largent were among those who filed

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