Rep. Jackson Joins Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court in Support of Religious Freedom
I recently joined an amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) affirming Congress’ support for religious liberty and for Coach Joe Kennedy in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District. The brief asks SCOTUS to reverse the Ninth Circuit’s decision to allow Bremerton School District to fire Coach Kennedy for silently kneeling and praying after school football games. Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and Representative Vicky Hartzler (MO-04) led the brief, which was signed by 14 Representatives and 12 Senators.
I said: “Freedom of religion is a longstanding American principle that has defined our great country since its inception, and Coach Kennedy’s firing is a blatant attack on that sacred principle. The Supreme Court must take the time to consider the facts of Coach Kennedy’s case and the implications of eroding the freedom of religion. I fully believe that, upon their review, Coach Kennedy will be vindicated because there is no situation in which the government can restrict an American’s right to choose the time and place of a private prayer.”
Kennedy was head coach for the Bremerton High School junior varsity football team and an assistant coach for the varsity team. After each game, he waited until the players cleared the field, then took a knee and silently prayed. Bremerton High School sent Kennedy a letter demanding he stop praying after games. His contract with Bremerton School District was not renewed, resulting in his termination. In 2019, SCOTUS denied a review of Kennedy’s case, with a concurring statement by four Justices requesting more information. As such, the case went back to the lower courts. In March 2021, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit upheld the School District’s decision to shred Kennedy’s, and in-turn every American’s, right to pray.
Also joining the brief are Representatives Brian Babin (TX-36), Lance Gooden (TX-05), Randy K. Weber (TX-14), Robert Aderholt (AL-04), Dan Bishop (NC-09), Ted Budd (NC-13), Bob Good (VA-05), Richard Hudson (NC-08), John Joyce, M.D. (PA-13), Debbie Lesko (AZ-08), Barry Loudermilk (GA-11), and Alex X. Mooney (WV-02), as well as Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tim Scott (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Thune (R-SD), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), John Boozman (R-AR), Steve Daines (R-MT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Roy Blunt (R-MO).