Public Statement

DFI Releases Statement on SCOTUS Decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton

President and Cofounder of the Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies (DFI), Robert S. Eitel, released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District:

“Today’s decision from the Supreme Court is a tremendous victory for the First Amendment.  DFI is proud to stand with Coach Kennedy in this important win for religious liberty and free expression. The Court has spoken clearly: The Free Exercise and the Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment protect expression like Coach Kennedy’s.”

In Kennedy v Bremerton, the Court decided that the Ninth Circuit erred in ruling that Coach Joe Kennedy’s silent prayers after high school football games violated the First Amendment.

Coach Kennedy’s battle to protect his First Amendment right to silently pray in public began while he was a football coach at Bremerton High School in Bremerton, Washington.  After each game, the coach would wait until the players left the field, take a knee, and pray silently.  After years of engaging in this practice, the Bremerton School District sent a letter to Coach Kennedy in 2015 instructing to him cease all “demonstrative religious activity” within view of any student or the public, either silently or audibly.  Refusing to abandon his faith and relinquish his First Amendment rights, Coach Kennedy continued to pray silently after each game. Within months, Bremerton School District suspended Coach Kennedy and refused to renew his contract.  

You can read DFI’s amicus brief here.