Notable Items:

Petitioner: Joseph Kennedy
Respondent: Bremerton School District
Venue: Supreme Court of the United States
Opinion of the Court: Kennedy-BremertonSchoolDistrict (2022)

Issue(s) Before the Court:

Per Sotomayor dissent: Properly understood, this case is not about the limits on an individual’s ability to engage in private prayer at work. This case is about whether a school district is required to allow one of its employees to incorporate a public, communicative display of the employee’s personal religious beliefs into a school event, where that display is recognizable as part of a longstanding practice of the employee ministering religion to students as the public watched.

Petitioner's Claim(s):

... that the District’s conduct violated both the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment.

Respondent's Claim(s):

... Kennedy’s rights to religious exercise and free speech must yield to the District’s interest in avoiding an Establishment Clause violation under Lemon and its progeny.
... that any visible religious conduct by a teacher or coach should be deemed—without more and as a matter of law—impermissibly coercive on students.

Holding(s) and Disposition:

Held: The Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment protect an individual engaging in a personal religious observance from government reprisal; the Constitution neither mandates nor permits the government to suppress such religious expression.
Disposition: 991 F. 3d 1004, reversed.

Material Facts:

Note: Majority opinion does not include a number of material facts highlighted in the dissent.

Procedural History:


Gorsuch Majority Opinion (Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Barrett. Kavanaugh but for III-B [Free Speech Clause].)

Thomas Concurrance

Alito Concurrance

Sotomayor Dissent (Breyer, Kagan)

Full Recounting of Facts

Gorsuch Majority Full Argument