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The Verdict Is In: Cape Henry Supreme Court issues Kennedy v. Bremerton opinion
Mr. Scott McGraw, Upper School History Faculty

In June, the Supreme Court of the United States will likely issue its opinion on Kennedy v. Bremerton School District.

At Cape Henry Collegiate, though, the issue is settled. 

In April, five AP U.S. Government students argued the case to the Cape Henry Supreme Court.  

The same day, the Supreme Court of the United States heard the case, which raises the question of whether a public high school in Bremerton, Washington could fire a football coach for praying with his players after games. 

The coach, Joseph Kennedy, argued that the school had violated his religious rights when they fired him.  

The school, on the other hand, argued that Kennedy’s actions had put the school in violation of the Constitution’s separation of church and state requirement.  

Savannah Anderson, Gavin Cake, and Carson Poulos argued for the school district, while Rachel Sobers and George Sullivan argued the case for Coach Kennedy.  

Anderson, Cake, and Poulos argued that BSD could control the content of Kennedy’s post-game speech because he was still “on the clock” at the time. They also argued that some of the players felt compelled to pray with the coach because they worried that they would lose playing time if they didn’t participate.  

Sobers and Sullivan responded that even though Kennedy was still on the job after the game, his prayer was the speech of a private citizen, because praying was not in his job description.  They also pointed out that students were not required to join in the prayer and that no one had lost playing time for refusing to participate.  

The students spent about a month preparing for the evening by reviewing the legal briefs submitted by the parties to the case and by practicing their arguments in front of classmates, faculty members, and attorneys, many of whom participated in the program when they were Cape Henry students.  

On the night of April 25, each student had ten minutes to make their case to the justices, a panel of local lawyers and school administrators.  

Doing so required the students to think on their feet, as the justices frequently interrupted their prepared remarks with questions about the facts of the case, previous Supreme Court opinions, and the effect of a potential ruling on future situations.

After hearing the arguments, the justices conferred and issued an opinion siding with the school. 

The students plan to travel to Washington, D.C. this fall to attend a Supreme Court oral argument. 

  

 

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