US Supreme Court takes case of high school coach who prayed at football game
The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to take Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, a case in which a high school football coach was suspended for engaging in 30 seconds of personal prayer at the end of a game:
“As the friend-of-the-court brief we joined urging the Supreme Court to take this case explains, no right is more fundamental to our Constitution than the ability of every citizen to give personal thanks to God for the blessings of His provision. If left intact, the 9th Circuit’s overt hostility to personal religious practice would drum the faithful out of public life. It is absurd to label an act of obvious personal gratitude and humility governmental speech that is prohibited by the Constitution. We look forward to the Supreme Court considering the arguments in this case and affirming the constitutionally protected freedom of public officials to prayerfully practice their faith during working hours.”
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
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John Bursch is senior counsel and vice president of appellate advocacy with Alliance Defending Freedom. Bursch has argued 12 U.S. Supreme Court cases and more than 30 state supreme court cases since 2011, and a recent study concluded that among all frequent Supreme Court advocates who did not work for the federal government, he had the 3rd highest success rate for persuading justices to adopt his legal position. Bursch served as solicitor general for the state of Michigan from 2011-2013. He has argued multiple Michigan Supreme Court cases in eight of the last ten terms and has successfully litigated hundreds of matters nationwide, including six with at least $1 billion at stake. As part of his private firm, Bursch Law PLLC, he has represented Fortune 500 companies, foreign and domestic governments, top public officials, and industry associations in high-profile cases, primarily on appeal. He received his J.D. magna cum laude in 1997 from the University of Minnesota Law School and is admitted to practice in numerous federal district and appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.