Opinions Relating to Orders - 2018

Kennedy v. Bremerton School Dist.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied. Statement of JUSTICE ALITO, with whom JUSTICE THOMAS, JUSTICE GORSUCH, and JUSTICE KAVANAUGH join, respecting the denial of certiorari. I concur in the denial of the petition for a writ of certiorari because denial of certiorari does not signify that the Court necessarily agrees with the decision (much less the opinion) below. In this case, important unresolved factual questions would make it very difficult if not impossible at this stage to decide the free speech question that the petition asks us to review. I Petitioner Joseph Kennedy claims that he lost his job as football coach at a public high school because he engaged in conduct that was protected by the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. He sought a preliminary injunction awarding two forms of relief: (1) restoration to his job and (2) an order requiring the school to allow him to pray silently on the 50-yard line after each football game. The latter request appears to depend on petitioner’s entitlement to the first—to renewed employment—since it seems that the school would not permit members of the general public to access the 50-yard line at the relevant time. The key question, therefore, is whether petitioner showed that he was likely to prevail on his claim that the termination of his employment violated his free speech rights, and in order to answer that question it is necessary