In a Monday morning opinion, the Supreme Court ruled that Joseph Kennedy’s First Amendment rights were violated when he was fired for praying on the field after football games in his role as a public school employee.
In a 6-3 ruling, Justice Gorsuch authored the majority opinion.
In his opinion, Gorsuch wrote, “Both the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the 1st Amendment protect expressions like Mr. Kennedy’s. Nor does a proper understanding of the Amendment’s Establishment Clause require the government to single out private religious speech for special disfavor.”
Beginning in 2008, Kennedy began kneeling on the football field after games and partaking in a brief prayer. Over time, players from his own team and the opposing team began to join him. Eventually, the vast majority of players would participate in the post-game prayer.
This continued without any formal complain until 2015 when the school told Kennedy to stop, claiming the act violated school policy that prohibited staff from encouraging students to engage in devotional activities.
This story is developing and will be updated as information becomes available.