The case centered on Joe Kennedy’s prayers on the 50-yard line after high school football games. The Supreme Court ruled he enjoyed the First Amendment right to practice his religion.
- The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 Monday in favor of a former high school football coach who prayed after games.
- The decision followed a recent ruling that schools offering religious instruction could receive state tuition aid.
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled Monday for a former high school football coach who prayed in the middle of the field after games, even though his school district was concerned students felt compelled to participate, in the court’s latest expression of support for religious freedom.
- What was the ruling?: The high court ruled the coach, Joe Kennedy, enjoyed the First Amendment right to practice his religion, with the majority saying the Constitution promotes tolerance rather than suppression of religious beliefs.
- What does the decision mean?: The ruling demonstrates the extent to which the high court is now prioritizing the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment over concerns about separation of church and state. The decision also came a week after the high court ruled in a Maine case, Carson v. Makin, that schools offering religious instruction may be entitled to state tuition aid.
- How did the nation react?: Political reaction was mixed. Former Vice President Mike Pence said it lifted restrictions on the free exercise of religion. But some advocates voiced concerns the decision would erode religious liberty by appearing to favor one group over another.