Attorney General Ken Paxton led a 23-state coalition defending religious liberty for a high school football coach who was unjustly fired for praying after games. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Coach Joseph Kennedy’s religious discrimination claim against the school district, saying that because Coach Kennedy prayed in view of students, his prayers are considered government speech that the district can censor. The coalition urges the Supreme Court to review and reverse that decision because of the serious First Amendment concerns it raises. The Ninth Circuit’s conclusion threatens to make everything a public employee does while on the clock into government speech. In turn, that would require public employers to control their employees’ every word in order to avoid liability.
The Ninth Circuit’s decision curtails the First Amendment liberties of public employees, which will deter individuals from seeking public employment to avoid being forced to give up their constitutionally protected liberties. The coalition, led by Paxton and the Attorneys General of Alaska and Arizona, filed its brief in the United States Supreme Court.
Read the brief here.