Oral Arguments at Supreme Court Offer Glimmer of Hope for Praying Coach in First Amendment Case Against School District

In 2008, when coach Joseph Kennedy knelt in silent prayer at the 50-yard line of the Bremerton High School football field after a game, he likely never anticipated his subsequent firing would take him all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

And it’s been a long journey, to say the least.

First Liberty Institute, a public interest law firm that handles religious liberty cases, filed a lawsuit on Kennedy’s behalf against Bremerton School District in 2016 for violating his First Amendment rights to free speech and religious expression when it fired him. First Liberty asked the court to allow Kennedy to continue coaching while litigation was pending, but the District Court, followed by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, denied the request.

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