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High school coach fired for post-game prayers poised for U.S. Supreme Court case

Joe Kennedy is suing his former Washington state school district

Joe Kennedy, a United States Marine Corps veteran and former assistant high school football coach in Washington state, finally will have his case heard the United States Supreme Court after a nearly seven-year battle over freedom of speech and religious expression.

Kennedy, then an assistant coach at Bremerton High School in Washington, was cautioned by school administrators and system officials against directly or indirectly encouraging students to participate in religious activities; the warning arose from Kennedy’s habit of post-game prayers after Bremerton’s football games.

However, myriad reports and coverage of the story – which even drew the campaign trail attention of Donald Trump in 2016 prior to the Presidential election – indicated that no members of the Bremerton community had complained about Kennedy’s prayers.

In fact, after Kennedy initially was warned to cease his postgame ritual, he instead found support from coaches, players and community members from the stands who joined him on-field in prayer.

Still, the school district suspended Kennedy for the remainder of that ’15 season and elected not to rehire him, at which point Kennedy retained legal counsel and sued for his rights.

Now, this month, Kennedy will finally get his day in court – in the nation’s highest courtroom.

“This is a right for everybody,” Kennedy told ABC News. “It doesn’t matter if you’re this religion or that religion or have no faith whatsoever.

“Everybody has the same rights in America.”

Kennedy is suing based on his First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom of religion. The case is set to be presented in the U.S. Supreme Court April 25 and decided by early summer.