Why the Supreme Court’s decision for Joe Kennedy led to more fights


According to Jeremy Dys, one of the coach’s lawyers, reports that Joe Kennedy, the praying football coach who won a big victory in the Supreme Court this summer, chose a press tour over return to the football field are inaccurate.

In an interview Wednesday with the Deseret News, Dys said Kennedy’s former employer, Bremerton School District in Bremerton, Wash., turned down multiple opportunities to “out-of-court” close the deal and instead “lambasted ” the coach in the press.

“They can’t act fun that Kennedy isn’t there, while they’re actively trying to sow disinformation,” he said. “I really do not understand.”

The Supreme Court‘s ruling, released on June 27, said the Bremerton School District violated the free speech and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment by refusing to let Kennedy pray at the 50-yard line after the soccer matches. The six conservative justices who made up the majority said Kennedy’s prayers did not violate previous rulings against teacher-led religious activities in public schools.

“The Constitution and the best of our traditions advise mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and repression, for religious and non-religious views,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion.

Dys argued that the school district has not been respectful or tolerant this summer. His frustration stems primarily from a September 17 Seattle Times article in which a Bremerton Schools spokeswoman said Kennedy had not responded to a new job posting.

“He’s had his reinstatement papers since August 8, and we haven’t even gotten a phone call,” Karen Bevers told the Seattle Times, adding that it was “strange and embarrassing.”

Dys acknowledged such documents existed, but said they came before they had negotiated the terms of Kennedy’s return and fully resolved the lawsuit. (Once the Supreme Court has ruled on a case, it is sent back to the court where it originated for the parties involved to work out details such as how much the losing party will spend on attorneys’ fees.) The parties do not still haven’t engaged in that sort of thing. negotiations, he said.

Sending the reinstatement paperwork in early August represented moving to “step 8 when they wouldn’t do step 2,” said Dys, senior counsel at the First Liberty Institute.

“They sent in step 8 without having a conversation. The only conversation they wanted to have was, ‘Here are the paperwork you need to fill out to become an employee again,'” he said.

The paperwork won’t matter until there’s a “final order” from a judge outlining how the Supreme Court’s decision will be implemented, Dys added.

School district attorneys, on the other hand, said in a statement that they had done everything necessary to rehire Kennedy and resolve the lawsuit.

“The District has sent Mr. Kennedy’s attorneys all required onboarding documents for District coaches and other employees, and the District has directed Mr. Kennedy to contact a designated District staff member for guidance. help if he needed it. We had assumed he would do his part and be back on the pitch when practices started on August 17. To date, the district has not received any of the necessary documents,” they said.

The statement continued, “Contrary to what Mr. Kennedy’s attorneys have said, a termination order is not necessary for Mr. Kennedy to be hired as a trainer, but it is necessary to conclude the trial. In the normal course of litigation, attorneys trade proposed orders back and forth until they reach an agreement. Mr. Kennedy’s attorneys have yet to respond to the district’s proposal.

Dys said his team focused on securing a face-to-face meeting, while school district attorneys characterize the request as part of a push for “backroom deals.”

“Despite the District’s continued efforts to bring Mr. Kennedy back to the field and resolve the case, his attorneys insist on a closed meeting. But the District is a public body; it cannot make covert deals to compromise the rights of its students, families and staff,” their statement read.

The ongoing battle stems from the fact that, following the ruling, Kennedy won the right to coach Bremerton again, an outcome he told the Deseret News he hoped for in an interview this spring.

“I want to be able to coach and thank God after every game,” he said.

Kennedy reiterated his desire to coach for Bremerton again in a Fox News interview in June.

“As soon as the school district says, ‘Hey, come back,’ I’m here, first flight,” he said.

The Seattle Times highlighted this quote from June in its recent article, which asked why Kennedy wasn’t back on the football field this fall. The article notes that the former coach has instead rubbed shoulders with conservative celebrities at events across the country.

Dys said Kennedy still wants his coaching job back, but he won’t be rushing back until the trial is over. Legal proceedings are ongoing and the former coach is unlikely to be back in the locker room until this spring, he said.

In their statement, the school district’s attorneys said they were “eager to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision,” but there was little they could do if Kennedy’s attorneys did not respond.

“No matter what Mr. Kennedy or his attorneys say, so far they have taken no action to resolve the matter,” they said.

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