Neil Gorsuch is a big fat liar and the Case of the Praying High School Coach was wrongly decided.
The case was a significant test of how the court balances free speech and religious liberty against the establishment clause, with the court increasingly giving more weight to the former. In a dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor took issue with Justice Neil M. Gorsuch’s portrayal of the facts in the majority opinion; She said the opinion “misconstrues the facts” regarding whether then-Bremerton (Washington) High School football coach Joseph Kennedy’s prayers were “quiet” and “private.”
Gorsuch began his opinion by stating:
“Joseph Kennedy lost his job as a high school football coach because he knelt at midfield after games to offer a quiet prayer of thanks. Mr. Kennedy prayed during a period when school employees were free to speak with a friend, call for a reservation at a restaurant, check email, or attend to other personal matters. He offered his prayers quietly while his students were otherwise occupied. Still, the Bremerton School District disciplined him anyway.”
Gorsuch later writes that the evidence makes clear “that Mr. Kennedy has demonstrated that his speech was private speech, not government speech.”
Sotomayor said this was, in fact, a misrepresentation:
“To the degree the court portrays petitioner Joseph Kennedy’s prayers as private and quiet, it misconstrues the facts. The record reveals that Kennedy had a long-standing practice of conducting demonstrative prayers on the 50-yard line of the football field. Kennedy consistently invited others to join his prayers and for years led student-athletes in prayer at the same time and location. The court ignores this history. The court also ignores the severe disruption to school events caused by Kennedy’s conduct.”
Essentially, there is a lengthy, years-long history in this case that includes suggestions that players might have felt compelled to participate. Sotomayor argues that this was important in determining whether Kennedy’s conduct violated the separation of church and state, even after he was issued warnings and his players no longer participated.
In other words, Gorsuch lied. this is not surprising as we have other liars on the supreme court. Those who lied their way onto the court, saying at their confirmation hearings before Congress that Roe was settled law.
The credibility of the court is at an all-time low and confidence is waning.
Full disclosure: I attended Bremerton (Washington) High school when I was 14 years old. This was at a time when I was losing my religion. I clearly remember being appalled and offended by the religious activity taking place at the High School.