Schmidt urges Supreme Court to protect First Amendment rights in case against high school football coach’s prayer

FILE(Josh Auzenne | WAFB)
Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 4:51 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Attorney General Derek Schmidt has urged the U.S. Supreme Court to protect First Amendment rights in a case against a high school football coach who prayed alone on a field in view of students.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says he told the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, Oct. 19, that a high school coach’s personal act of prayer on a football field is protected by the First Amendment.

AG Schmidt said he joined 23 other state attorneys general to file a brief that asks the Supreme Court to review and reverse a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, which allowed a school district to punish the coach for praying alone on a football field in view of students.

“Courts have repeatedly confirmed that the mere presence of private, protected religious speech on a school campus does not constitute an endorsement such that it brings the school within the ambit of an Establishment Clause violation,” the attorneys general argued in the brief. Further, they said the 9th Circuit’s decision “impermissibly curtails public employees’ right to express themselves as citizens.”

Schmidt said the attorneys general ask the Court to review the case and reverse the 9th Circuit’s decision to ensure the rights of public employees to maintain their freedom of religious expression and prevent the detrimental consequences to the public-sector workforce if these rights go unprotected.

A copy of the brief in the case Joseph A. Kennedy v. Bremerton School District can be found HERE.

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