Joe Kennedy, a former assistant football coach at Bremerton High School in Bremerton, Washington, poses for a photo at the school’s football field.
Bremerton High School suspended Joe Kennedy in 2015 for leading prayers after football games.The Supreme Court ruled in Kennedy’s favor in June 2022 after he sued the school district.Kennedy is now coaching again at Bremerton High School for the first time in eight years.
A high school football coach who lost his job after holding prayers with his players on the football field in 2015 is coaching again after successfully pleading his case to the US Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in Joe Kennedy’s favor in June 2022.
Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion at the time that Kennedy led a “quiet, personal prayer” that was protected by the First Amendment. In a dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the majority’s opinion “misconstrues the facts.”
“The record reveals that Kennedy had a long-standing practice of conducting demonstrative prayers on the 50-yard line of the football field,” Sotomayor wrote. “Kennedy consistently invited others to join his prayers and for years led student-athletes in prayer at the same time and location. The Court ignores this history.”
Kennedy is now back to coaching at Bremerton High School this season as an assistant, according to ABC 13. Kennedy was reinstated as a football coach in March and took the field last week for the first time in eight years.
Bremerton High School did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment on Sunday. But the Bremerton School District told ABC 13 that it’s glad to be moving past the “legal distraction” and will fully comply with the Supreme Court’s decision.
“The lawsuit was only asking for two things. That I was to be able to be a coach and able to pray after a football game,” Kennedy told the outlet. “That’s what they’ve given back to me, and I’m looking forward to doing that.”