Hoeven Statement on SCOTUS Decision Supporting Religious Freedom

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement after the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued its opinion in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District. Earlier this year, Hoeven joined his colleagues in filing an amicus brief at the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Coach Joe Kennedy’s constitutional rights.

“Today the Supreme Court defended Coach Kennedy’s constitutional freedoms,” said Hoeven. “This is about ensuring religious freedom, and we welcome the Court’s decision.” 

Coach Joe Kennedy was head coach for the Bremerton High School junior varsity football team and an assistant coach for the varsity team. After each game, Kennedy waited until the players left the field, then took a knee at midfield and prayed. Bremerton High School sent the coach a letter demanding he stop praying after games. Coach Kennedy’s contract with Bremerton School District was not renewed, resulting in his termination. In a 6-3 decision today, SCOTUS found that the First Amendment protects an individual who is engaging in a personal religious observance from being retaliated against by the government.