Supreme Court won’t hear appeal from high school football coach fired for praying after games

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The United States Supreme Court will not hear the the case of former Bremerton High School (Washington) head coach Joseph Kennedy, who was fired in 2015 for praying on the field after games at the 50-yard line. However, the question could be addressed by the highest court in the land in the future.

Justices Samuel Alito, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, wrote in a separate concurrence that the time wasn’t right to review the case because “important unresolved factual questions would make it very difficult if not impossible at this stage to decide the free speech question that the petition asks us to review.”

In 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that Kennedy acted as a public official by praying, along with willing athletes, in school attire and in full view of students and parents. 

Alito wrote, “Ninth Circuit’s understanding of the free speech rights of public school teachers is troubling and may justify review in the future.”

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.