(Ezekiel Loseke, Headline USA) Joe Kennedy, a devout Christian who was fired from his job coaching football in Washington State in 2015, has been given his old position back, according to The Blaze.
Kennedy, in addition to being rehired, also agreed to a cash settlement with the school district. The district will pay him $1,775,000 for his legal fees. The school board has not yet approved that amount, but is expected to vote on approving the settlement Thursday.
His reinstatement has been in the works for a long time. Kennedy was fired in 2015. A Federal judge ruled against him in 2020. In 2021 the 9th Circuit court of appeals ruled against him. In April of 2022 The Supreme Court of The United States heard oral arguments in the case. In June of 2022 SCOTUS ruled on behalf of Kennedy.
Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion of the court.
“Here, a government entity sought to punish an individual for engaging in a brief, quiet, personal religious observance doubly protected by the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment,” he wrote.
Despite the clear endorsement of the court, Kennedy reported that the school district drug its feet in reinstating him. Indeed, from start to finish, it took seven years for Kennedy to be reinstated.
Kennedy expressed relief and gratitude that his “long battle” was finally over, according to The Christian Post.
“All I’ve ever wanted was to be back on the field with my guys,” he said. “I am incredibly grateful to the Supreme Court, my fantastic legal team, and everyone who has supported us. I thank God for answering our prayers and sustaining my family through this long battle.”
Kelly Shackelford, the head of Kennedy’s legal team spoke on the case.
“[this decision is a] tremendous victory for Coach Kennedy and religious liberty for all Americans,” she said. “Our Constitution protects the right of every American to engage in private religious expression, including praying in public, without fear of getting fired.”
“We are grateful that the Supreme Court recognized what the Constitution and law have always said — Americans are free to live out their faith in public.”