AFT President Randi Weingarten Responds to the Supreme Court’s Decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after the Supreme Court ruled in Kennedy v Bremerton School District that the free exercise and free speech clauses of the First Amendment protect an individual engaging in religious expression—in this case, a high school football coach who lost his job for praying after games:
“Today, the extremists on the Supreme Court one more time ignored the constitutional doctrine of separation of church and state. The freedom to practice religion, as founders like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison wrote, means the freedom for people of different religions to practice without control and domination by the government.
“This decision by the court demonstrates a lack of judicial temperament and a lack of fidelity to the originalism its authors claim to worship. As a union that represents educators who teach, coach and support millions of students every day, we believe that schools should be safe spaces for everyone. This decision, and last week’s ruling regarding Maine vouchers (Carson v. Makin), make them less so.”
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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.