WASHINGTON, DC – Earlier this week, America First Legal (AFL) filed an amicus brief at the Supreme Court of the United States in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District–a case involving a high school football coach who was fired for nothing more than praying silently at midfield after football games in the State of Washington.
The Ninth Circuit held that the Establishment Clause, set forth in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, compelled the school district to stop Coach Kennedy from praying on the field after games, holding that the school district’s actions were necessary to prevent an Establishment Clause violation. The Supreme Court’s repeated misinterpretations of the Establishment Clause have been threatening the rights of religious believers in this country for decades. AFL’s brief asks the Court to reconsider and overrule its Establishment Clause jurisprudence that has caused Coach Kennedy, and others, to lose their jobs for exhibiting their First Amendment rights. The points and arguments raised by AFL’s brief include:
- For the past 75 years, the Supreme Court has interpreted the Establishment Clause in a manner that flouts the constitutional language and imposes a separationist ideology that has no grounding in the Constitution’s text or history.
- The Supreme Court should recognize that its Establishment Clause decisions caused school officials to persecute Coach Kennedy—and that these cases are causing religious believers in other school districts to face similar threats from school administrators who are understandably concerned about the possibility of Establishment Clause litigation if they tolerate or allow any type of religious expression by school employees. And the Court should take decisive action to redress this problem.
America First Legal will continue to fight on behalf of Americans whose constitutional rights are being violated.
Statement from America First Legal Vice President and General Counsel Gene Hamilton:
“As stated in our brief, it is our hope that the Supreme Court takes bold action to stop the weaponization of the Establishment Clause, and instead rein in the abuses of its Establishment Clause jurisprudence. The current state of affairs is untenable and unworkable–leading to absurd results, such as in this case, that violate the Constitutional rights of Americans such as Coach Kennedy to practice their religious beliefs,” Gene Hamilton said.
Read the Amicus Brief here.
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