Justice Brett Kavanaugh suggested that he believed Kennedy’s situation differed from prior cases in which the court had ruled against school prayer, because students could avoid being subjected to the coach’s message.
Kavanaugh described as “a key fact” that the prayers in the 2000 case were delivered over “loudspeakers,” in contrast to Kennedy quietly praying on the 50-yard line, “when the players are dispersing after the game.”
Taking a different tack, liberal Justice Elena Kagan tried to put the focus on students who might feel pressured to follow the coach.
“If you look at our prayer cases,” Kagan이 말했다, “the idea of why the school can discipline him is that that puts a kind of undue pressure, a kind of coercion, on students to participate in religious activities when they may not wish to, when their religion is different or when they have no religion.”
Kagan said a district may want to protect students from fearing that if they fail to follow a coach’s practices, they will not get into the game. “And this is a kind of coercion that’s improper for 16-year-olds,” 그녀가 말했다.
The current court has increasingly allowed more mixing of church and state. The pattern has deepened with the addition of conservative justices such as Kavanaugh and fellow appointees of former President Donald Trump, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.
The late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whom Barrett succeeded, protested the court’s trend in her last written opinion before her death in 2020.
“(티)he Court casts totally aside countervailing rights and interests in its zeal to secure religious rights to the nth degree,” she wrote in a dispute over employers’ religious and moral exemptions from the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. She said the majority was allowing “the religious beliefs of some to overwhelm the rights and interests of others who do not share those beliefs.”
몇 년 동안, the court has also redefined government rules once regarded as neutral to now be potentially discriminatory, 예를 들면, on government funding of schools.
Based on earlier arguments in a funding dispute from Maine, it appears the justices may also in this session strike down a program that permits parents to use government-financed vouchers for public and private schools but not religious institutions.
Like pending disputes over abortion rights and gun control this Supreme Court term, school prayer remains an enduring part of the “culture wars” tracing to at least the Ronald Reagan years.
Reagan’s former attorney general, Ed Meese, 사실로, submitted a brief with other former GOP attorneys general siding with Kennedy.
“(피)rayer in the public sphere—and even in public schools — was historically commonplace,” they argued. “… The Americans who drafted and ratified the First Amendment would balk at the notion that the Establishment Clause could be co-opted to cancel a coach for his private prayers. So should this Court.”
그룹 11 church-state scholars, alternatively, have urged the justices to reinforce their prohibitions on prayer in school settings. “At bottom, (케네디의) argument amounts to a direct assault on the line of cases originating with Engel v. 비탈레 (1962), and continuing most recently through the Court’s ruling in Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe,” 그만큼 2000 case forbidding organized prayer over a public address system before games.
If Kennedy wins, the scholars argued in the brief by lawyer Joshua Matz, “then disturbingly little remains of this Court’s precedents.”