Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump with Supreme Court Justices, November 8, 2018.

Until further notice, the USSC, comprised of six Catholics and three Jews is likely to pursue a conservative, pro-religion judicial policy (if not agenda), as was shown in its historic overturning of Roe v Wade last Friday, and now in its decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton. The Supreme Court ruled on Monday in favor of petitioner Joseph Kennedy who “lost his job as a high school football coach in the Bremerton School District after he knelt at midfield after games to offer a quiet personal prayer.”

The court decided coach Kennedy had a constitutional right to pray at the 50-yard line after his team’s games, and the vote, as it had been last Friday, was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal members dissenting.


Earlier in this term, the court ruled unanimously in favor of a Christian group that wanted to raise its flag in front of Boston’s City Hall and, with 8 to 1 in favor of a death row inmate who asked to be touched by his pastor inside the execution chamber.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a furious dissenting view on Kennedy v. Bremerton, that opened: “For now, it suffices to say that the Court’s history-and-tradition test offers essentially no guidance for school administrators. If even judges and Justices, with full adversarial briefing and argument tailored to precise legal issues, regularly disagree (and err) in their amateur efforts at history, how are school administrators, faculty, and staff supposed to adapt? How will school administrators exercise their responsibilities to manage school curriculum and events when the Court appears to elevate individuals’ rights to religious exercise above all else? Today’s opinion provides little in the way of answers; the Court simply sets the stage for future legal changes that will inevitably follow the Court’s choice today to upset longstanding rules.”

Sotomayor went on to rebuke the majority that “quotes the Lee Court’s remark that enduring others’ speech is ‘part of learning how to live in a pluralistic society.’ … The Lee Court, however, expressly concluded, in the very same paragraph, that ‘[t]his argument cannot prevail’ in the school-prayer context because the notion that being subject to a ‘brief’ prayer in school is acceptable ‘overlooks a fundamental dynamic of the Constitution’: its ‘specific prohibition on . . . state intervention in religious affairs.’”

Last week, the same court ruled, also 6 to 3, that the State of Maine may not exclude religious schools from a state tuition program.

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (OU) applauded the court’s ruling on the Maine tuition program, noting that “in striking down Maine’s exclusionary policy the Supreme Court simply and forcefully stated: ‘The state pays tuition for certain students at private schools – so long as the schools are not religious. That is discrimination against religion.’”


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