Attorney Jennifer Shaw on SCOTUS Case of Praying Football Coach
Listen: Jennifer Shaw, President of the Shaw Law group specializing in employment law.
A coach's personal act of prayer that grew into a public spectacle after Bremerton High School football games is now a major test of the First Amendment in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court being argued today. The coach, Joe Kennedy, who was suspended by the school in 2015 over post-game prayers on the field, is asking the justices to affirm the right of public school employees to pray aloud while on the job, even when within view of students they coach or teach. Lower courts sided with the school district. A Supreme Court ruling for Kennedy has the potential to expand the ability of public school employees nationwide to practice their faiths more openly around students. The First Amendment protects free speech and free exercise of religion, but it also prohibits the establishment of religion by the government. The Supreme Court has long said that public school-sponsored prayer violates the Establishment Clause, even if the prayer is voluntary.