WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on The Constitution for the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District.
“Today, the Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit’s decision that allowed Coach Kennedy, a high school football coach in the State of Washington, to be fired for silently kneeling and praying after his team’s games. The legal question at the heart of this case was whether the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals got it right when they ruled that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prevents government from establishing a religion, means that a government institution must fire a public employee who privately practices his or her faith if there’s a chance someone may interpret the individual’s expression of faith as government-endorsed religion. Not only is that conclusion patently absurd, it completely ignores the original understanding of the First Amendment and Supreme Court precedent. That’s what the Supreme Court corrected today.
“The Establishment Clause is frequently misunderstood—it’s not some kind of disinfectant used to silence individuals who exercise their faith or to remove faith from the public square. Rather, both the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause are meant to operate in tandem to stop government from persecuting faith, as we saw the Bremerton School District do to Coach Kennedy. I am proud to be part of a group of 11 Senators and 14 Representatives that filed an amicus brief with the Court that argued in defense of Coach Kennedy’s free exercise of his faith. I’m thankful the Supreme Court fully enforced the First Amendment—in a major victory for religious liberty—and upheld our God-given right to practice our faith.”