Church & State

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
The Supreme Court is seen at sundown in Washington on Nov. 6, 2020.
The Supreme Court is seen at sundown in Washington on Nov. 6, 2020.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Law & Courts Supreme Court to Weigh Maine's Exclusion of Religious Schools From 'Tuitioning' Program
The justices will decide whether a tuition aid program for towns without public high schools must include religious schools.
Mark Walsh, July 2, 2021
8 min read
Image of a gavel.
Marilyn Nieves/E+
Law & Courts Appeals Court Again Backs School District Against Football Coach Who Prayed on Field
The federal court at least partially answers a U.S. Supreme Court justice's concerns about the effect of its ruling on educator speech rights.
Mark Walsh, March 18, 2021
4 min read
Law & Courts Court Backs Religious-School Student's Participation in Vermont Dual-Enrollment Program
A federal appeals court rules that recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions support the student's free exercise of religion claim.
Mark Walsh, January 15, 2021
4 min read
Image of a courthouse facade.
Pierre Desrosiers/iStock/Getty
Law & Courts Appeals Court Rules for Religious Schools in Latest Challenge to Pandemic Restrictions
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, exempted nine religious schools from an Ohio county's school closure order.
Mark Walsh, January 3, 2021
2 min read
The Supreme Court in Washington on the day after the election, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020.
The U.S. Supreme Court continues to face cases involving coronavirus pandemic closures.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Law & Courts Supreme Court Denies Kentucky Religious Academy's Challenge to School Closing Order
The justices, over two dissents, cited the imminent expiration of the order. The school could challenge again if the order is renewed.
Mark Walsh, December 17, 2020
3 min read
In this Nov. 10, 2020 photo the sun rises behind the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. The Supreme Court seemed concerned Tuesday, Dec. 1, about the impact of siding with food giants Nestle and Cargill and ending a lawsuit that claims they knowingly bought cocoa beans from farms in Africa that used child slave labor. The court was hearing arguments in the case by phone because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Danville Christian Academy in Kentucky wants the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower court's ruling allowing the Kentucky governor's order barring in-person school instruction to go forward.
Alex Brandon/AP
Law & Courts Kentucky Religious School Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Block State Closure Order
Danville Christian Academy is seeking emergency relief from the COVID-19 closure order after losing in federal appeals court.
Mark Walsh, December 2, 2020
4 min read
In this Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, file photo, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear addresses the media in Frankfort, Ky. Kentucky's governor said Sunday, Oct. 11, that he will quarantine after a member of his security detail who drove with his family the day before later tested positive for COVID-19. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said he and his family feel fine, show no coronavirus symptoms and have tested negative for the virus.
Kentucky Gov. Andrew G. Beshear is battling the state's attorney general over his order to stop all in-person school instruction to battle a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Timothy D. Easley/AP
Law & Courts Federal Appeals Court Lifts Block on Kentucky School Closure Order
The injunction would have let private religious schools reopen despite the governor's order barring in-person instruction.
Mark Walsh, November 29, 2020
3 min read
Protesters gather on the sidewalk outside the the offices of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York. Three  Jewish congregations  sued New York state and Cuomo, saying he engaged in a “streak of anti-Semitic discrimination” with a recent crackdown on religious gatherings to reduce the state’s coronavirus infection rate.
Protesters gather outside the the offices of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York. Three Jewish congregations sued New York state and Cuomo, saying he engaged in a “streak of anti-Semitic discrimination” with a recent crackdown on religious gatherings to reduce the state’s coronavirus infection rate.
Kathy Willens/AP
Law & Courts U.S. Supreme Court Blocks New York State COVID-19 Limits on Religious Services
The 5-4 decision reveals a fault line that may prevail when the high court confronts pandemic restrictions on religious education.
Mark Walsh, November 26, 2020
6 min read
Law & Courts Education and the Supreme Court: What to Watch for in the New Term
Cases involving religious freedom vs. anti-discrimination as well as Obamacare already are on the docket, and disputes dealing with union rights and other issues are knocking at the door.
Mark Walsh, September 29, 2020
4 min read
The U.S. Supreme Court is seen Tuesday, June 30, 2020 in Washington.
The U.S. Supreme Court is seen Tuesday, June 30, 2020 in Washington.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Law & Courts U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Prohibition on Tax-Credit Scholarships for Religious Schools
The 5-4 decision involving a dispute in Montana appears to cast doubt on as many as 30 state constitutions that bar aid to religious schools.
Mark Walsh, June 30, 2020
7 min read
A woman walks past the U.S. Supreme Court, which is hearing oral arguments via livestreamed telephone due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A woman walks past the U.S. Supreme Court, which is hearing oral arguments via livestreamed telephone due to the coronavirus pandemic.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
Law & Courts Next Up at Supreme Court: Employment Rights of Parochial School Teachers
A pair of cases being heard by the high court will likely determine whether job-discrimination laws apply to tens of thousands of teachers at religious schools.
Mark Walsh, May 7, 2020
7 min read
Detroit high school junior Mohammad Muntakim has been pushing his school district to add the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr to the school calendar. One year, the holiday coincided with his final exams.
Detroit high school junior Mohammad Muntakim has been pushing his school district to add the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr to the school calendar. One year, the holiday coincided with his final exams.
Elaine Cromie for Education Week
School & District Management Schools Reconsider the Calendar as Students Grow More Diverse
A growing number of schools are re-evaluating their policies on religious holidays in response to the changing demographics of their students.
Stephen Sawchuk, March 24, 2020
8 min read
School Choice & Charters Private School Choice Programs Fall Short on Transparency, Accountability
Education Week finds that few of the nearly 30 states with programs that pay tuition at private schools or tax-credits to incentivize businesses and individuals to do so require private schools to follow standard policies used to ensure transparency and accountability in the nation’s public schools.
Arianna Prothero & Alex Harwin, February 28, 2020
12 min read