Scott Joins Colleagues to Defend Freedoms of Speech and Religion
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) joined an amicus brief led by Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) along with 11 senators and 14 members of Congress in support of Coach Joe Kennedy in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District. The brief asks the Supreme Court to review and subsequently reverse the Ninth Circuit’s decision that allowed Coach Kennedy to be fired for silently kneeling and praying after school football games. Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) is co-leading the brief for the House.
Joining Senators Scott and Lankford are Senators Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Lee (R-Utah.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and John Thune (R-S.D.).
Kennedy was head coach for the Bremerton High School junior varsity football team and an assistant coach for the varsity team. After each game, he waited until the players cleared the field, then took a knee and silently prayed. Bremerton High School sent Kennedy a letter demanding he stop praying after games. Kennedy’s contract with Bremerton School District was not renewed, resulting in his termination.
Kennedy filed a lawsuit against Bremerton School District, which a federal district court dismissed. On appeal, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit argued Kennedy’s prayers were not protected by the Constitution because he was praying as a public employee rather than in his private, personal capacity. In 2019, Coach Kennedy asked the Supreme Court to review the case and 15 members of Congress, including Senator Scott, filed an amicus brief in support of Coach Kennedy.
On the issue of freedom of speech, Senator Scott joined Senators Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Cotton (R-Ark.) in introducing the Campus Free Speech Resolution of 2021.
“Freedom of speech and religion are cornerstones to the American way of life, yet they are under attack at all levels of education,” said Senator Scott. “I am proud to stand with my colleagues against the tide of woke supremacy sweeping across our educational institutions.”
The Campus Free Speech Resolution of 2021 urges greater First Amendment protection at public universities. Senators Scott, Blackburn, and Cotton introduced this legislation alongside Senators Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).