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Former Bremerton, Wash. high school football coach Joe Kennedy – for whom the Supreme Court ruled in favor Monday – told Fox News he isn’t seeking any financial recompense, but simply wants his old job back and the ability to offer the 15-second prayers that originally drew the district’s ire.
In penning the majority decision, Justice Neil Gorsuch – a Trump nominee – wrote it is “no accident” the First Amendment protects religious speech, but a “natural outgrowth of the framers distrust of government and attempts to regulate religion and suppress dissent.”
Kennedy had originally been put on leave in 2015 for reciting prayers at midfield following games. Those prayers, Gorsuch ruled, are Constitutionally protected.
He expressed “immense thankfulness for the courts and the lawyers and their every supporter and every American who made this happen.”
Kennedy’s attorney, Kelly Shackelford, confirmed to Fox News Kennedy’s main goal was to rejoin his former squad and be allowed to publicly offer praise to Jesus Christ.
“One of the neat things that people don’t realize is Coach didn’t ask for any money. He wanted to make that clear. All he wanted was his job as a football coach and to be able to say that 15- to 20-second prayer; a silent prayer after the game,” Shackelford said.
“The court reiterated that that’s all he asked for today. And so that’s what he’s going to get unless [the school] want[s] to defy the Supreme Court.”
Shackelford praised the precedent set by the high bench, in that coaches who follow in Kennedy’s tradition are protected.
When asked if Kennedy plans to try to return to Bremerton, Shackelford strongly suggested he would:
“In the fall, he’ll be back on the field, and he’ll be saying a prayer after the game,” he replied.
“Let’s hope they don’t have that fight [to keep Kennedy off the field], but we’re ready to have that fight. If they want to defy the Supreme Court, I think they’re going to realize they made a serious mistake. I don’t expect them to do that. But we’ll be ready if they do.”
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