Steve Coon Blog

SCOTUS RULINGS HITS AND MISSES—PART TWO

This has been a monumental season for Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decisions.  Rulings dominating the SCOTUS docket have ranged from a Second Amendment challenge, (New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn v. Bruen), abortion rights (Dobbs v. Jackson’ Women Health Organization) , to free exercise (Carson v. Maine) and religious protection (Kennedy v. Bremerton School District) Kennedy v. Bremerton School Dist.

The latter was issued this Monday, June 27, 2022.  The Kennedy case involved the much publicized and debated issue of whether a high school football coach who prayed privately at midfield after a game violated the school district’s policy. 

The school said yes and fired Coach Joseph Kennedy.  He appealed claiming his dismissal violated his First Amendment rights of free speech and free expression.  Today the Supreme Court agreed and supported Kennedy’s appeal.

This does not mean that Kennedy will get his job back.  But his belief in his constitutional right is vindicated.

An earlier victory for free expression was the ruling in favor of parents in Maine who wish to use state tuition money to send their children to non-sectarian schools.  An important motivation for many parents is the paucity of public schools in rural Maine.  This dearth was not principal to the ruling but underscored the rationale for the high tribunal’s recognition that the state’s prohibition of tuition fees to parents who find private schools for their children is a First Amendment violation.

Americans continue to celebrate and debate the freedoms bestowed by the U.S. Constitution in 1788 and its first ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights in 1791.

As the latest Supreme Court rulings demonstrate, the interpretation of the founders’ original intent still generates arguments more than 230 years later.

Conservatives and liberals won’t stop discussing or promoting their respective views of what these rights mean.  This is healthy for our democratic republic.

As for me, I believe the Supreme Court this term—in the majority of its rulings—has come down on the correct side of history.