Church & State

Globe with two ethnic characters holding symbolism for various world religions.
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Law & Courts Why Some Religious Groups Worry After Supreme Court Sided With Praying High School Coach
Concerns arise about equal treatment of students and employees from minority religious groups after a ruling on a Christian coach's prayers.
Evie Blad, June 28, 2022
5 min read
Joe Kennedy, a former assistant football coach at Bremerton High School in Bremerton, Wash., poses for a photo March 9, 2022, at the school's football field. After losing his coaching job for refusing to stop kneeling in prayer with players and spectators on the field immediately after football games, Kennedy will take his arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, April 25, 2022, saying the Bremerton School District violated his First Amendment rights by refusing to let him continue praying at midfield after games.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of former Bremerton (Wash.) High School assistant football coach Joseph A. Kennedy that his post-game prayers were protected by the First Amendment.
Ted S. Warren/AP
Law & Courts Supreme Court Says High School Coach's Post-Game Prayers Protected by the First Amendment
The decision could have enormous practical consequences for school districts and their supervision of teachers and other employees.
Mark Walsh, June 27, 2022
9 min read
Image of the Supreme Court.
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Law & Courts Supreme Court Strikes Down Maine's Exclusion of Religious Schools From Tuition-Aid Program
The justices hold that barring "sectarian" schools from the program for towns without public high schools violates the First Amendment.
Mark Walsh, June 21, 2022
7 min read
The Supreme Court in Washington, Dec. 3, 2021. The Supreme Court has turned away a plea from parents to block a new admissions policy at a prestigious high school in northern Virginia that a lower court had found discriminates against Asian American students.
The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Dec. 3, 2021.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Law & Courts Conservatives’ Checklist: U.S. Supreme Court Education Decisions to Overrule
Here are five education issues that could be targets for reconsideration if Roe v. Wade falls.
Mark Walsh, May 11, 2022
3 min read
supreme court SOC
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Law & Courts Leaked Abortion Draft Has Supreme Court Education Cases in Political Cross-Hairs
Conservatives have taken aim at decisions on educating immigrants, race in admissions, and religion. Liberals have some cases in mind, too.
Mark Walsh, May 10, 2022
8 min read
Coach Joseph Kennedy outside the Supreme Court after oral arguments in his case. Sending one more pic of the lawyers on the other side in a moment.
Former Bremerton, Wash., High School football coach Joseph A. Kennedy addresses the media outside the U.S. Supreme Court after April 25 oral arguments in his case.
Mark Walsh/Education Week
Law & Courts Key Takeaways From Praying-Coach Case While Supreme Court Deliberates
There's plenty to unpack from the lengthy questioning in a case that could alter the First Amendment landscape for schools.
Mark Walsh, April 27, 2022
5 min read
Bremerton assistant football coach Joe Kennedy, recently placed on administrative leave due to his prayers on the football field after games, listens to the national anthem from the stands at Memorial Stadium in Bremerton, Wash. on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015.
Joseph A. Kennedy, a former Bremerton High School football coach, listens to the national anthem from the stands in 2015 after being placed on administrative leave for praying on the field after games in Bremerton, Wash. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in his case to regain his job this week.
Lindsey Wasson/The Seattle Times via AP
Law & Courts U.S. Supreme Court Signals Support for Football Coach's Public Prayers
The case has major implications for the free speech and religious expression of public school educators.
Mark Walsh, April 25, 2022
6 min read
In this Oct. 16, 2015 file photo, former Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy, obscured at center, is surrounded by Centralia High School football players in Bremerton, Wash., after they took a knee with him and prayed following their game against Bremerton.
Then-assistant football Coach Joseph A. Kennedy of Bremerton High School in Washington is surrounded by Centralia High School football players as they prayed following their game against Bremerton.
Meegan M. Reid/Kitsap Sun via AP
Law & Courts Coach Prayer Case Raises Big Free Speech, Religious Rights Questions for Schools
The U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether the First Amendment protects public post-game prayers by a coach.
Mark Walsh, April 20, 2022
11 min read
Image of a gavel.
Marilyn Nieves/E+
Curriculum Calif. Deletes Popular Affirmation From Curriculum After Suit Claims It's an Aztec Prayer
This lawsuit is one of the first major legal challenges to the state's model ethnic studies curriculum.
Kristen Taketa, The San Diego Union-Tribune, January 19, 2022
3 min read
Former Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy is in a conflict with the Bremerton, 
Wash., school district over his silent prayer after games.
Former Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joseph A. Kennedy stands at on the 50-yard line at Bremerton Memorial Stadium. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal over his dismissal for praying after football games.
Larry Steagall/Kitsap Sun via AP
Law & Courts Supreme Court to Hear Case of Coach Who Prayed After Games in Defiance of School District
The U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether school districts may prohibit private religious expression by public school employees.
Mark Walsh, January 14, 2022
4 min read
From left, Amy and Olivia Carson pictured outside Bangor Christian School in Bangor, Maine on Nov. 5, 2021.
Amy Carson, left, and her daughter, Olivia, stand outside Bangor Christian Schools in Maine in November, before their case went before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Linda Coan O’Kresik for Education Week
Law & Courts Religious Schools and State Aid: What to Glean From a Lively Supreme Court Argument
Justices seem skeptical about Maine's exclusion of religious schools from tuition aid for students in towns without public high schools.
Mark Walsh, December 8, 2021
8 min read
The Carson family pictured outside Bangor Christian School in Bangor, Maine on Nov. 5, 2021.
Institute for Justice senior attorney Michael E. Bindas, left, accompanies Amy and David Carson who flank their daughter, Olivia, outside Bangor Christian Schools in Maine in early November. The Carsons are one of two families seeking to make religious schools eligible for Maine's tuition program for students from towns without high schools.
Linda Coan O’Kresik for Education Week
Law & Courts Can Public Money Go to Religious Schools? A Divisive Supreme Court Case Awaits
The justices will weigh Maine's exclusion of religious schools from its "tuitioning" program for students from towns without high schools.
Mark Walsh, November 18, 2021
13 min read
In this June 8, 2021 photo, with dark clouds overhead, the Supreme Court is seen in Washington.
The U.S. Supreme Court's new term opens in early October with several cases that could impact K-12 schools.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Law & Courts Here Are the Upcoming Supreme Court Cases That Matter for Schools
Major cases on school choice and religious schools will be heard, along with a case on whether school boards can reprimand outspoken members.
Mark Walsh, September 27, 2021
9 min read
Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy, center in blue, kneels and prays after his team lost to Centralia in Bremerton, Wash., on Oct. 16, 2015. Kennedy, who was suspended for praying at midfield after games, has filed a discrimination complaint on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015 with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission according to The Liberty Institute, a Texas-based law firm representing the coach.
Joe Kennedy, center in blue, kneels and prays after a game in October 2015 when he was the assistant football coach at Bremerton High School in Bremerton, Wash. In a long-running legal fight, Kennedy contends he has First Amendment free-speech and free-exercise-of-religion rights to express his Christian faith while on the job. The case is likely headed back to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Lindsey Wasso/The Seattle Times via AP
Law & Courts Praying Coach v. District That Suspended Him: What's Next in Fight Over Religious Expression
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit declined to reconsider an earlier panel ruling that sided with the school district.
Mark Walsh, July 20, 2021
4 min read