Author Topic: Law / Court thread  (Read 34792 times)

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Re: Law / Court thread
« Reply #615 on: June 28, 2022, 01:50:59 PM »

Offline keevsnick

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Regarding prayer on the football field, when I first started playing high school football, before games and after the last practice of the week, coach brought the team together to inspire us.... pep us up....and when he was finished called us in to say the Lord's Prayer.

I thought it really, really strange. My buddy on the team, who was Jewish, just kinda looked at me. We stayed near the back of the huddle, hands raised forward to be as one with our team and said nothing.

But it was always uncomfortable for me and some of my teammates. I thought it really inappropriate for coach to force his religious belief's prayer onto the team. But, as I came to find out, it was a tradition in high school football across most of the country for decades and decades. I guess it continues until this day....and due to the Supreme Court, will continue to, regardless of how players feel about it.
In this case, the coach prayed after the game on the field.  Players weren't required to join in.  Some chose to do so.  At least in the south, most players are going to be for it.  When college players get interviewed after a big game, they generally thank god first.  I can't recall a high school football commitment event where the player didn't thank god. 

The hardcore liberal notion of separation of church and state is just as bogus as the hardcore conservative notion of the individual right to own guns.

This country was founded on the core purpose of separation of church and state. It doesn’t get any more fundamental than that for federal laws, yet the Supreme Court is undermining that. Something is fundamentally wrong here.

There's no strict separation between church and state, though.  That's not in the Constitution.

The state can't restrict free exercise (which it was doing in this case), and it can't establish a religion.  It also can't discriminate upon the basis of religion.

Often, by requiring non-exercise of religion, the state is violating both free exercise and is being discriminatory.
If you are not participating in the coach’s prayer you are being discriminated against. You don’t think a devout Christian will have second thoughts about benching a non-participant in favor of a participant. And that would be hard to prove in court. This is a bad precedent.

Would it be ok to lead a satanic worship after games?

He wasn't leading a prayer.  He was praying silently to himself.   He was told by the school that he couldn't encourage prayer, but he also couldn't discourage it.  And, he allegedly waited for the players to clear the field before praying, at least during the period in which he was suspended.

Quote
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. It
did so because it thought anything less could lead a reasonable observer to conclude (mistakenly) that it endorsed Mr.
Kennedy’s religious beliefs. That reasoning was misguided.
Both the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First
Amendment protect expressions like Mr. Kennedy’s. Nor
does a proper understanding of the Amendment’s Establishment Clause require the government to single out private religious speech for special disfavor. The Constitution
and the best of our traditions counsel mutual respect and
tolerance, not censorship and suppression, for religious and
nonreligious views alike.
 
 
 
 
2 KENNEDY v. BREMERTON SCHOOL DIST.
Opinion of the Court
I
A
Joseph Kennedy began working as a football coach at
Bremerton High School in 2008 after nearly two decades of
service in the Marine Corps. App. 167. Like many other
football players and coaches across the country, Mr. Kennedy made it a practice to give “thanks through prayer on
the playing field” at the conclusion of each game. Id., at
168, 171. In his prayers, Mr. Kennedy sought to express
gratitude for “what the players had accomplished and for
the opportunity to be part of their lives through the game
of football.” Id., at 168. Mr. Kennedy offered his prayers
after the players and coaches had shaken hands, by taking
a knee at the 50-yard line and praying “quiet[ly]” for “approximately 30 seconds.” Id., at 168–169.
Initially, Mr. Kennedy prayed on his own. See ibid. But
over time, some players asked whether they could pray
alongside him. 991 F. 3d 1004, 1010 (CA9 2021); App. 169.
Mr. Kennedy responded by saying, “‘This is a free country.
You can do what you want.’” Ibid. The number of players
who joined Mr. Kennedy eventually grew to include most of
the team, at least after some games. Sometimes team members invited opposing players to join. Other times Mr. Kennedy still prayed alone. See ibid. Eventually, Mr. Kennedy
began incorporating short motivational speeches with his
prayer when others were present. See id., at 170. Separately, the team at times engaged in pregame or postgame
prayers in the locker room. It seems this practice was a
“school tradition” that predated Mr. Kennedy’s tenure.
Ibid. Mr. Kennedy explained that he “never told any student that it was important they participate in any religious
activity.” Ibid. In particular, he “never pressured or encouraged any student to join” his postgame midfield prayers. Ibid.
For over seven years, no one complained to the Bremerton School District (District) about these practices. See id.,
Cite as: 597 U. S. ____ (2022) 3
Opinion of the Court
at 63–64. It seems the District’s superintendent first
learned of them only in September 2015, after an employee
from another school commented positively on the school’s
practices to Bremerton’s principal. See id., at 109, 229. At
that point, the District reacted quickly. On September 17,
the superintendent sent Mr. Kennedy a letter. In it, the
superintendent identified “two problematic practices” in
which Mr. Kennedy had engaged. App. 40. First, Mr. Kennedy had provided “inspirational talks" that included
“overtly religious references” likely constituting “prayer”
with the students “at midfield following the completion of
. . . games.” Ibid. Second, he had led “students and coaching staff in a prayer” in the locker-room tradition that “predated [his] involvement with the program.” Id., at 41.
The District explained that it sought to establish “clear
parameters” “going forward.” Ibid. It instructed Mr. Kennedy to avoid any motivational “talks with students” that
“include[d] religious expression, including prayer,” and to
avoid “suggest[ing], encourag[ing] (or discourag[ing]), or supervis[ing]” any prayers of students, which students remained free to “engage in.” Id., at 44. The District also
explained that any religious activity on Mr. Kennedy’s part
must be “nondemonstrative (i.e., not outwardly discernible
as religious activity)” if “students are also engaged in religious conduct” in order to “avoid the perception of endorsement.” Id., at 45. In offering these directives, the District
appealed to what it called a “direct tension between” the
“Establishment Clause” and “a school employee’s [right to]
free[ly] exercise” his religion. Id., at 43. To resolve that
“tension,” the District explained, an employee’s free exercise rights “must yield so far as necessary to avoid school
endorsement of religious activities.” Ibid.
After receiving the District’s September 17 letter, Mr.
Kennedy ended the tradition, predating him, of offering
locker-room prayers. Id., at 40–41, 77, 170–172. He also
ended his practice of incorporating religious references or
 
 
4 KENNEDY v. BREMERTON SCHOOL DIST.
Opinion of the Court
prayer into his postgame motivational talks to his team on
the field. See ibid. Mr. Kennedy further felt pressured to
abandon his practice of saying his own quiet, on-field postgame prayer. See id., at 172. Driving home after a game,
however, Mr. Kennedy felt upset that he had “broken [his]
commitment to God” by not offering his own prayer, so he
turned his car around and returned to the field. Ibid. By
that point, everyone had left the stadium, and he walked to
the 50-yard line and knelt to say a brief prayer of thanks.
See ibid.
On October 14, through counsel, Mr. Kennedy sent a letter to school officials informing them that, because of his
“sincerely-held religious beliefs,” he felt “compelled” to offer
a “post-game personal prayer” of thanks at midfield. Id., at
62–63, 172. He asked the District to allow him to continue
that “private religious expression” alone. Id., at 62. Consistent with the District’s policy, see id., at 48, Mr. Kennedy
explained that he “neither requests, encourages, nor discourages students from participating in” these prayers, id.,
at 64. Mr. Kennedy emphasized that he sought only the
opportunity to “wai[t] until the game is over and the players
have left the field and then wal[k] to mid-field to say a
short, private, personal prayer.” Id., at 69. He “told everybody” that it would be acceptable to him to pray “when the
kids went away from [him].” Id., at 292. He later clarified
that this meant he was even willing to say his “prayer while
the players were walking to the locker room” or “bus,” and
then catch up with his team. Id., at 280–282; see also id.,
at 59. However, Mr. Kennedy objected to the logical implication of the District’s September 17 letter, which he understood as banning him “from bowing his head” in the vicinity
of students, and as requiring him to “flee the scene if students voluntarily [came] to the same area” where he was
praying. Id., at 70. After all, District policy prohibited him
from “discourag[ing]” independent student decisions to
pray. Id., at 44.
 
Cite as: 597 U. S. ____ (2022) 5
Opinion of the Court
On October 16, shortly before the game that day, the District responded with another letter. See id., at 76. The District acknowledged that Mr. Kennedy “ha[d] complied” with
the “directives” in its September 17 letter. Id., at 77. Yet
instead of accommodating Mr. Kennedy’s request to offer a
brief prayer on the field while students were busy with
other activities—whether heading to the locker room,
boarding the bus, or perhaps singing the school fight song—
the District issued an ultimatum. It forbade Mr. Kennedy
from engaging in “any overt actions” that could “appea[r] to
a reasonable observer to endorse . . . prayer . . . while he is
on duty as a District-paid coach.” Id., at 81. The District
did so because it judged that anything less would lead it to
violate the Establishment Clause. Ibid.
B
After receiving this letter, Mr. Kennedy offered a brief
prayer following the October 16 game. See id., at 90. When
he bowed his head at midfield after the game, “most
[Bremerton] players were . . . engaged in the traditional
singing of the school fight song to the audience.” Ibid.
Though Mr. Kennedy was alone when he began to pray,
players from the other team and members of the community
joined him before he finished his prayer. See id., at 82, 297.
This event spurred media coverage of Mr. Kennedy’s dilemma and a public response from the District. The District
placed robocalls to parents to inform them that public access to the field is forbidden; it posted signs and made announcements at games saying the same thing; and it had
the Bremerton Police secure the field in future games. Id.,
at 100–101, 354–355. Subsequently, the District superintendent explained in an October 20 email to the leader of a
state association of school administrators that “the coach
moved on from leading prayer with kids, to taking a silent
prayer at the 50 yard line.” Id., at 83. The official with
whom the superintendent corresponded acknowledged that
 
6 KENNEDY v. BREMERTON SCHOOL DIST.
Opinion of the Court
the “use of a silent prayer changes the equation a bit.” Ibid.
On October 21, the superintendent further observed to a
state official that “[t]he issue is quickly changing as it has
shifted from leading prayer with student athletes, to a
coaches [sic] right to conduct” his own prayer “on the 50
yard line.” Id., at 88.
On October 23, shortly before that evening’s game, the
District wrote Mr. Kennedy again. It expressed “appreciation” for his “efforts to comply” with the District’s directives,
including avoiding “on-the-job prayer with players in
the . . . football program, both in the locker room prior to
games as well as on the field immediately following games.”
Id., at 90. The letter also admitted that, during Mr. Kennedy’s recent October 16 postgame prayer, his students
were otherwise engaged and not praying with him, and that
his prayer was “fleeting.” Id., at 90, 93. Still, the District
explained that a “reasonable observer” could think government endorsement of religion had occurred when a “District
employee, on the field only by virtue of his employment with
the District, still on duty” engaged in “overtly religious conduct.” Id., at 91, 93. The District thus made clear that the
only option it would offer Mr. Kennedy was to allow him to
pray after a game in a “private location” behind closed doors
and “not observable to students or the public.” Id., at 93–
94.
After the October 23 game ended, Mr. Kennedy knelt at
the 50-yard line, where “no one joined him,” and bowed his
head for a “brief, quiet prayer.” 991 F. 3d, at 1019; App.
173, 236–239. The superintendent informed the District’s
board that this prayer “moved closer to what we want,” but
nevertheless remained “unconstitutional.” Id., at 96. After
the final relevant football game on October 26, Mr. Kennedy
again knelt alone to offer a brief prayer as the players engaged in postgame traditions. 443 F. Supp. 3d 1223, 1231
(WD Wash. 2020); App. to Pet. for Cert. 182. While he was
praying, other adults gathered around him on the field. See
 
 
 
 
Cite as: 597 U. S. ____ (2022) 7
Opinion of the Court
443 F. Supp. 3d, at 1231; App. 97. Later, Mr. Kennedy rejoined his players for a postgame talk, after they had finished singing the school fight song. 443 F. Supp. 3d, at
1231; App. 103.
C
Shortly after the October 26 game, the District placed Mr.
Kennedy on paid administrative leave and prohibited him
from “participat[ing], in any capacity, in . . . football program activities.” Ibid

Actually, its not at all clear what the facts are in this case. A direct pull from a dissenting opinion in the 9th circuit from a judge appointed by GW Bush making the point that the behavior Kennedy was disciplined for was in fact not at anything remotely resembling private prayer then excoriating the judges who pushed that narrative. The Supreme court dissent makes this exact same case. It appears the court has so lost itself it cant even agree on a series of events:

M. SMITH, Circuit Judge, concurring in the denial of
rehearing en banc:

Unlike Odysseus, who was able to resist the seductive
song of the Sirens by being tied to a mast and having his
shipmates stop their ears with bees’ wax, our colleague,
Judge O’Scannlain, appears to have succumbed to the Siren
song of a deceitful narrative of this case spun by counsel for
Appellant, to the effect that Joseph Kennedy, a Bremerton
High School (BHS) football coach, was disciplined for
holding silent, private prayers. That narrative is false.
Although I discuss the events in greater detail below, the
reader should know the following basic truth ab initio:
Kennedy was never disciplined by BHS for offering silent,
private prayers. In fact, the record shows clearly that
Kennedy initially offered silent, private prayers while on the
job from the time he began working at BHS, but added an
increasingly public and audible element to his prayers over
the next approximately seven years before the Bremerton
School District (BSD) leadership became aware that he had
invited the players and a coach from another school to join
him and his players in prayer at the fifty-yard line after the
conclusion of a football game. He was disciplined only after
BSD tried in vain to reach an accommodation with him after
10 KENNEDY V. BREMERTON SCHOOL DISTRICT
he (in a letter from his counsel) demanded the right to pray
in the middle of the football field immediately after the
conclusion of games while the players were on the field, and
the crowd was still in the stands. He advertised in the area’s
largest newspaper, and local and national TV stations, that
he intended to defy BSD’s instructions not to publicly pray
with his players while still on duty even though he said he
might lose his job as a result. As he said he would, Kennedy
prayed out loud in the middle of the football field
immediately after the conclusion of the first game after his
lawyer’s letter was sent, surrounded by players, members of
the opposing team, parents, a local politician, and members
of the news media with television cameras recording the
event, all of whom had been advised of Kennedy’s intended
actions through the local news and social media.


Yes, it's sad that we can't take factual findings at face value from an appellate court or SCOTUS.  But, assume this paragraph is true:

Quote
After the October 23 game ended, Mr. Kennedy knelt at the 50-yard line, where “no one joined him,” and bowed his head for a “brief, quiet prayer.” 991 F. 3d, at 1019; App. 173, 236–239. The superintendent informed the District’s board that this prayer “moved closer to what we want,” but nevertheless remained “unconstitutional.” Id., at 96.

If a coach takes a few moments for an inaudible, personal prayer while players are departing the field, is this unconstitutional?  Is it a problem if the coach takes a knee?

To me, that one is easy:  that has to be allowed.

The coach shouldn't be leading prayer, in my mind, which has happened at many schools.  The coach shouldn't be advocating for or against prayer.  But, if he's praying inaudibly and isn't specifically inviting people to pray, I think it's the right call.

No, because he doesn't need to do it at the fifty yard line. Its literally the middle of a field designed for spectating.

So?  It's post-game.  What part of the Constitution says that prayer must be done in secret, outside of the public sphere?

None, as long as you aren't acting as a member of the US government or a representative thereof which he certainly is as a public school football coach or pushing a set of religious views or practices which he also arguably is by doing so in public immediately after a game. There is just too coercive potential, and what's more its obvious he knew it by the fact he went to the media and hyped up the practice in the following weeks/months.

But again, since that's not actually what he was fired for its hard to see what use of the hypothetical is. This isn't a case about a guy just trying to pray on his own and getting fired, its a case about a guy who tried to make prayer a central theme of his coaching and got fired and seemed to in fact in at least some ways be pushing for this outcome.

I guess what confuses me here is partly my own upbringing. I prayed plenty growing up, very religious family. You did it as part of a group in a religious setting, or you did it privately as a conversation with god. Doing it in a public place surrounded by people neither serves the worship component, nor does it serve to foster a personals relationship with god. So, to be honest, it just sort of inconceivable to me that this guy was operating in good faith and not trying to prove a point. But maybe that shouldn't matter.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2022, 02:02:30 PM by keevsnick »

Re: Law / Court thread
« Reply #616 on: June 28, 2022, 02:13:05 PM »

Online Roy H.

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Quote
I guess what confuses me here is partly my own upbringing. I prayed plenty growing up, very religious family. You did it as part of a group in a religious setting, or you did it privately as a conversation with god. Doing it in a public place surrounded by people neither serves the worship component, nor does it serve to foster a personals relationship with god. So, to be honest, it just sort of inconceivable to me that this guy was operating in good faith and not trying to prove a point. But maybe that shouldn't matter.

I don't pray, but I've certainly been around enough people who have genuflected and said quick prayers in public.  I've never found it to be disingenuous. 

And, so long as an employee isn't *leading* a prayer, I think most valid methods of prayer should be fine.  I'm not a religious scholar, but what's the most demonstrative type of private prayer?  Praying to Allah?  If somebody put a prayer rug down on the field after players cleared the field, I think it's all good.  I don't think there's anything coercive about saying / showing that you're religious.

Is somebody was wearing a cross while teaching / coaching / working at the DMV, would you feel the same way?

I have a much bigger problem with "under God" or "in God we trust" than I do silent prayer by an individual.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2022, 02:22:47 PM by Roy H. »


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Re: Law / Court thread
« Reply #617 on: June 28, 2022, 02:29:38 PM »

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I remember when Scolari was coach of Chelsea (soccer team) he tried to do team prayers before games but the players didn't like it.

Prior to that he had been National Team coach of Portugal & Brazil where in both cases -- because those nations were more religious -- team prayers were seen as beneficial to the team and helped bring the players together / be a collective group. Just a tool in the tool-kit for creating that unity. Team unity; all working together under a higher power. His Brazil players in particular found team prayers to be very good and beneficial to them.

But then at Chelsea, you have a less religious country in England plus a multi-national multi-cultural group of players from all over the world at the club so team prayers did not go down well. Sorta had the opposite effect. Like a fish out of water - this guy, this coach, shouldn't really be here. He doesn't belong here.

Anyway, not to the legality part of this discussion. Just the private sphere vs public sphere prayer discussion. Seems cultural. Depends on what mix of people you are dealing with. Looks to me like it has value in team sports if you have a largely mono-cultural / mono-religious group.

Re: Law / Court thread
« Reply #618 on: June 28, 2022, 02:33:37 PM »

Offline keevsnick

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Quote
I guess what confuses me here is partly my own upbringing. I prayed plenty growing up, very religious family. You did it as part of a group in a religious setting, or you did it privately as a conversation with god. Doing it in a public place surrounded by people neither serves the worship component, nor does it serve to foster a personals relationship with god. So, to be honest, it just sort of inconceivable to me that this guy was operating in good faith and not trying to prove a point. But maybe that shouldn't matter.

I don't pray, but I've certainly been around enough people who have genuflected and said quick prayers in public.  I've never found it to be disingenuous. 

And, so long as an employee isn't *leading* a prayer, I think most valid methods of prayer should be fine.  I'm not a religious scholar, but what's the most demonstrative type of private prayer?  Praying to Allah?  If somebody put a prayer rug down on the field after players cleared the field, I think it's all good. I don't think there's anything coercive about saying / showing that you're religious.

Is somebody was wearing a cross while teaching / coaching / working at the DMV, would you feel the same way?

I have a much bigger problem with "under God" or "in God we trust" than I do silent prayer by an individual.

Okay, I actually don't think we're far part of the issue actually. For most cases I'd agree. For example some local kid wants to go out there and pray then fine (still weird to me to do so at the fifty yard line, but sure). But when you are in a position of power especially over a group of young people (as a coach) I think this is just plainly wrong. The fifty yard line is a place on the field you go to explicitly to be seen. That, combined with the position he's in as a coach is what makes it problematic. It is coercive, MAYBE (being generous) not purposefully but I'm not sure that matters.

But also, he definitely did lead prayers.  There are literally pictures of him doing so in the local papers, which sort of speaks to my larger point here. Its a little weird for the Supreme Court to make up a seemingly more benign version of events in order to reach the decision they want, rather than just ruling on the facts at hand.


Re: Law / Court thread
« Reply #619 on: June 28, 2022, 02:35:41 PM »

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I remember when Scolari was coach of Chelsea (soccer team) he tried to do team prayers before games but the players didn't like it.

Prior to that he had been National Team coach of Portugal & Brazil where in both cases -- because those nations were more religious -- team prayers were seen as beneficial to the team and helped bring the players together / be a collective group. Just a tool in the tool-kit for creating that unity. Team unity; all working together under a higher power. His Brazil players in particular found team prayers to be very good and beneficial to them.

But then at Chelsea, you have a less religious country in England plus a multi-national multi-cultural group of players from all over the world at the club so team prayers did not go down well. Sorta had the opposite effect. Like a fish out of water - this guy, this coach, shouldn't really be here. He doesn't belong here.

Anyway, not to the legality part of this discussion. Just the private sphere vs public sphere prayer discussion. Seems cultural. Depends on what mix of people you are dealing with. Looks to me like it has value in team sports if you have a largely mono-cultural / mono-religious group.

Yeah, I suspect that when talking about American high school football in the south, prayer would act as a unifier, because the population is probably overwhelmingly Christian.  In the northeast, west coast, etc., it might be more of a distraction.  As you advance to college programs that recruit nationally, or to the NFL, coach led prayer wouldn't do a lot, although you do see examples of player-led prayer at higher levels.


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Re: Law / Court thread
« Reply #620 on: June 28, 2022, 02:41:40 PM »

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Quote
I guess what confuses me here is partly my own upbringing. I prayed plenty growing up, very religious family. You did it as part of a group in a religious setting, or you did it privately as a conversation with god. Doing it in a public place surrounded by people neither serves the worship component, nor does it serve to foster a personals relationship with god. So, to be honest, it just sort of inconceivable to me that this guy was operating in good faith and not trying to prove a point. But maybe that shouldn't matter.

I don't pray, but I've certainly been around enough people who have genuflected and said quick prayers in public.  I've never found it to be disingenuous. 

And, so long as an employee isn't *leading* a prayer, I think most valid methods of prayer should be fine.  I'm not a religious scholar, but what's the most demonstrative type of private prayer?  Praying to Allah?  If somebody put a prayer rug down on the field after players cleared the field, I think it's all good. I don't think there's anything coercive about saying / showing that you're religious.

Is somebody was wearing a cross while teaching / coaching / working at the DMV, would you feel the same way?

I have a much bigger problem with "under God" or "in God we trust" than I do silent prayer by an individual.

Okay, I actually don't think we're far part of the issue actually. For most cases I'd agree. For example some local kid wants to go out there and pray then fine (still weird to me to do so at the fifty yard line, but sure). But when you are in a position of power especially over a group of young people (as a coach) I think this is just plainly wrong. The fifty yard line is a place on the field you go to explicitly to be seen. That, combined with the position he's in as a coach is what makes it problematic. It is coercive, MAYBE (being generous) not purposefully but I'm not sure that matters.

But also, he definitely did lead prayers.  There are literally pictures of him doing so in the local papers, which sort of speaks to my larger point here. Its a little weird for the Supreme Court to make up a seemingly more benign version of events in order to reach the decision they want, rather than just ruling on the facts at hand.

Regarding your last paragraph, I think the debate is about whether the school district would allow any accomodation.  Kennedy seemingly tried to comply with most of the requests of the school district:  no leading prayers, praying silently, not encouraging players, waiting until personnel was off the field, etc. 

I think if the coach had been fired immediately after the superintendent learned of the tradition of coach-led prayers (which pre-dated Kennedy, but which he continued), they would have been on firmer footing.  But, once they tried to intimately control what he could and couldn't do, and told him that he couldn't do certain things that he had a right to (i.e., private prayer in public view), then they messed up.


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Re: Law / Court thread
« Reply #621 on: June 28, 2022, 02:46:09 PM »

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Ghislaine Maxwell, the socialite who was convicted late last year of helping financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse underage girls, was sentenced on Tuesday to 20 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan said: "A sentence of 240 months is sufficient and no graver than necessary."

Before issuing the verdict, Nathan addressed those gathered inside the federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan, including Maxwell and some of her victims.

“I find that the defendant’s criminal activity was extensive,” Nathan said.

In December, Maxwell was convicted by a jury of five charges, including sex trafficking, transporting a minor to participate in illegal sex acts and two conspiracy charges.

Quote
Federal prosecutors were seeking a sentence of 30 to 55 years in prison.

“Maxwell’s conduct was shockingly predatory,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing. “She was a calculating, sophisticated, and dangerous criminal who preyed on vulnerable young girls and groomed them for sexual abuse.”

Her attorneys had asked the judge for a sentence of four to five years.

Frankly, I think 20 years for sex trafficking of minors is a slap on the wrist.


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Re: Law / Court thread
« Reply #622 on: June 28, 2022, 03:15:03 PM »

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Ghislaine Maxwell, the socialite who was convicted late last year of helping financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse underage girls, was sentenced on Tuesday to 20 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan said: "A sentence of 240 months is sufficient and no graver than necessary."

Before issuing the verdict, Nathan addressed those gathered inside the federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan, including Maxwell and some of her victims.

“I find that the defendant’s criminal activity was extensive,” Nathan said.

In December, Maxwell was convicted by a jury of five charges, including sex trafficking, transporting a minor to participate in illegal sex acts and two conspiracy charges.

Quote
Federal prosecutors were seeking a sentence of 30 to 55 years in prison.

“Maxwell’s conduct was shockingly predatory,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing. “She was a calculating, sophisticated, and dangerous criminal who preyed on vulnerable young girls and groomed them for sexual abuse.”

Her attorneys had asked the judge for a sentence of four to five years.

Frankly, I think 20 years for sex trafficking of minors is a slap on the wrist.

Yeah that is incredibly lenient. Did she end up flipping on any of Epstein's powerful clients? Or did she agree to not flip lol...

Re: Law / Court thread
« Reply #623 on: June 29, 2022, 06:10:07 PM »

Offline Moranis

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Not really the same type of thing we normally discuss here, but I found it interesting and is at least on some level related to the law.

Freddie Freeman fired his agent today.  Why do I find that interesting well apparently Freeman's agent did not tell Freeman about the last offer the Braves made before declining it and then Freeman signed with the Dodgers a few days later.

The Braves final offer was 5 years, 140 million.  Freeman signed with the Dodgers for 6 years, 162 million, but it has a lot of deferred money and the state tax is significantly higher in California than it is in Georgia, plus Atlanta's offer was more money per year. 

So he didn't tell his client about a deal that may have actually been a better financial deal for his client.  And in turn, the Braves lost the face of their franchise and a guy that they wanted to keep and was beloved by the city.  Seems like a fairly easy case for Freeman and is a terrible terrible look for the agent and agency. 
I was finally wrong. Boston not only didn't win in 5, but didn't win at all.

Re: Law / Court thread
« Reply #624 on: June 30, 2022, 11:55:23 AM »

Offline mobilija

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Any thoughts on this 6th Ammendment SCOTUS ruling brought up in this opinion piece?

https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/3541102-scotus-just-quietly-slashed-your-sixth-amendment-rights/

The writer is clearly upset about the other recent SCOTUS decisions but I am interested in the 6th Ammendment take.

Re: Law / Court thread
« Reply #625 on: June 30, 2022, 12:21:48 PM »

Online Roy H.

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Any thoughts on this 6th Ammendment SCOTUS ruling brought up in this opinion piece?

https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/3541102-scotus-just-quietly-slashed-your-sixth-amendment-rights/

The writer is clearly upset about the other recent SCOTUS decisions but I am interested in the 6th Ammendment take.

I read that one when it first came out.  I recall thinking that the Court followed the statutory law properly, but that that the law itself was flawed. 

The article itself?  Hyperbolic, uninformative trash.

As I recall, what happened in these two cases were that the defendants were both convicted of horrific crimes.  They were convicted in state court.  They appealed in state court, citing ineffective assistance of counsel.  Their appeals were denied.

They then tried to appeal to Federal court, alleging that the lawyers who handled their state ineffectiveness of counsel appeals were also ineffective.  (The allegations being that both their trial counsel and their appellate counsel were ineffective.)  One of the allegations in each case is that neither counsel created a sufficient factual record.

A federal court and then the Ninth Circuit (federal appellate court for West Coast states) found that the defendants were entitled to a hearing where new evidence could be presented (for the first time).

The Supreme Court (6-3) found that federal law prohibits having a new federal evidentiary hearing at this stage.  You can make legal arguments based on the record that exists, but you can't present new evidence.  So, if your two (or more, presumably, in states that have multiple layers of appeals) lawyers suck and don't create a sufficient record, you're screwed, because that's your one time to put on evidence.  Here, the appellate lawyer should have done a better job creating a record regarding the ways in which the trial lawyer had screwed up, including any exculpatory evidence that existed.

The dissent said that that's a misreading of federal law.

That's from memory, so somebody feel free to correct that.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2022, 12:31:28 PM by Roy H. »


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Re: Law / Court thread
« Reply #626 on: June 30, 2022, 12:24:32 PM »

Offline chicagoceltic

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I guess what confuses me here is partly my own upbringing. I prayed plenty growing up, very religious family. You did it as part of a group in a religious setting, or you did it privately as a conversation with god. Doing it in a public place surrounded by people neither serves the worship component, nor does it serve to foster a personals relationship with god. So, to be honest, it just sort of inconceivable to me that this guy was operating in good faith and not trying to prove a point. But maybe that shouldn't matter.

I don't pray, but I've certainly been around enough people who have genuflected and said quick prayers in public.  I've never found it to be disingenuous. 

And, so long as an employee isn't *leading* a prayer, I think most valid methods of prayer should be fine.  I'm not a religious scholar, but what's the most demonstrative type of private prayer?  Praying to Allah?  If somebody put a prayer rug down on the field after players cleared the field, I think it's all good. I don't think there's anything coercive about saying / showing that you're religious.

Is somebody was wearing a cross while teaching / coaching / working at the DMV, would you feel the same way?

I have a much bigger problem with "under God" or "in God we trust" than I do silent prayer by an individual.

Okay, I actually don't think we're far part of the issue actually. For most cases I'd agree. For example some local kid wants to go out there and pray then fine (still weird to me to do so at the fifty yard line, but sure). But when you are in a position of power especially over a group of young people (as a coach) I think this is just plainly wrong. The fifty yard line is a place on the field you go to explicitly to be seen. That, combined with the position he's in as a coach is what makes it problematic. It is coercive, MAYBE (being generous) not purposefully but I'm not sure that matters.

But also, he definitely did lead prayers.  There are literally pictures of him doing so in the local papers, which sort of speaks to my larger point here. Its a little weird for the Supreme Court to make up a seemingly more benign version of events in order to reach the decision they want, rather than just ruling on the facts at hand.

Regarding your last paragraph, I think the debate is about whether the school district would allow any accomodation.  Kennedy seemingly tried to comply with most of the requests of the school district:  no leading prayers, praying silently, not encouraging players, waiting until personnel was off the field, etc. 

I think if the coach had been fired immediately after the superintendent learned of the tradition of coach-led prayers (which pre-dated Kennedy, but which he continued), they would have been on firmer footing.  But, once they tried to intimately control what he could and couldn't do, and told him that he couldn't do certain things that he had a right to (i.e., private prayer in public view), then they messed up.
I cannot find it now but yesterday I read an article with a timeline of events regarding Coach Kennedy's prayers. The timeline showed that the district asked/warned him that he should not be leading prayers several times. It does not seem that he tried to comply but instead had more players and even asked opposing teams to pray with him. He also went to the media on a few occasions. I wish I could find the article again.
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Re: Law / Court thread
« Reply #627 on: June 30, 2022, 12:33:33 PM »

Online Roy H.

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I guess what confuses me here is partly my own upbringing. I prayed plenty growing up, very religious family. You did it as part of a group in a religious setting, or you did it privately as a conversation with god. Doing it in a public place surrounded by people neither serves the worship component, nor does it serve to foster a personals relationship with god. So, to be honest, it just sort of inconceivable to me that this guy was operating in good faith and not trying to prove a point. But maybe that shouldn't matter.

I don't pray, but I've certainly been around enough people who have genuflected and said quick prayers in public.  I've never found it to be disingenuous. 

And, so long as an employee isn't *leading* a prayer, I think most valid methods of prayer should be fine.  I'm not a religious scholar, but what's the most demonstrative type of private prayer?  Praying to Allah?  If somebody put a prayer rug down on the field after players cleared the field, I think it's all good. I don't think there's anything coercive about saying / showing that you're religious.

Is somebody was wearing a cross while teaching / coaching / working at the DMV, would you feel the same way?

I have a much bigger problem with "under God" or "in God we trust" than I do silent prayer by an individual.

Okay, I actually don't think we're far part of the issue actually. For most cases I'd agree. For example some local kid wants to go out there and pray then fine (still weird to me to do so at the fifty yard line, but sure). But when you are in a position of power especially over a group of young people (as a coach) I think this is just plainly wrong. The fifty yard line is a place on the field you go to explicitly to be seen. That, combined with the position he's in as a coach is what makes it problematic. It is coercive, MAYBE (being generous) not purposefully but I'm not sure that matters.

But also, he definitely did lead prayers.  There are literally pictures of him doing so in the local papers, which sort of speaks to my larger point here. Its a little weird for the Supreme Court to make up a seemingly more benign version of events in order to reach the decision they want, rather than just ruling on the facts at hand.

Regarding your last paragraph, I think the debate is about whether the school district would allow any accomodation.  Kennedy seemingly tried to comply with most of the requests of the school district:  no leading prayers, praying silently, not encouraging players, waiting until personnel was off the field, etc. 

I think if the coach had been fired immediately after the superintendent learned of the tradition of coach-led prayers (which pre-dated Kennedy, but which he continued), they would have been on firmer footing.  But, once they tried to intimately control what he could and couldn't do, and told him that he couldn't do certain things that he had a right to (i.e., private prayer in public view), then they messed up.
I cannot find it now but yesterday I read an article with a timeline of events regarding Coach Kennedy's prayers. The timeline showed that the district asked/warned him that he should not be leading prayers several times. It does not seem that he tried to comply but instead had more players and even asked opposing teams to pray with him. He also went to the media on a few occasions. I wish I could find the article again.

Without seeing all of the evidence established, I'm going to trust Gorsuch's fact-finding, since it includes citations to the record.  The article provides quotes from the school district as the coach attempted to comply.  I'm skeptical that a SCJ is making up quotes.


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Re: Law / Court thread
« Reply #628 on: June 30, 2022, 12:54:20 PM »

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The Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a 5-4 decision that the Biden administration can repeal the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, commonly known as the "Remain in Mexico" policy, reversing a lower court ruling.

Under that policy, migrants seeking entry into the U.S. had to stay in Mexico as they awaited hearings. The Trump administration put the policy in place so that migrants would not be released into the U.S. The Biden administration had tried to repeal the policy but was previously blocked by a lower court. At issue was whether the Department of Homeland Security's suspension and subsequent termination of the policy violated a federal law that requires that migrants be detained or, if they arrived from a contiguous country, sent back.

Roberts, Kavanaugh, Sotomayor, Breyer and Kagan in the majority.  Barrett agreed with the majority's interpretation, but disagreed on procedural grounds.  Alito, Gorsuch and Thomas argued that federal law mandates the policy.

Very quick reading of the statute, I agree with the majority, while disagreeing strongly with the Biden policy.


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Re: Law / Court thread
« Reply #629 on: June 30, 2022, 01:16:08 PM »

Offline keevsnick

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I guess what confuses me here is partly my own upbringing. I prayed plenty growing up, very religious family. You did it as part of a group in a religious setting, or you did it privately as a conversation with god. Doing it in a public place surrounded by people neither serves the worship component, nor does it serve to foster a personals relationship with god. So, to be honest, it just sort of inconceivable to me that this guy was operating in good faith and not trying to prove a point. But maybe that shouldn't matter.

I don't pray, but I've certainly been around enough people who have genuflected and said quick prayers in public.  I've never found it to be disingenuous. 

And, so long as an employee isn't *leading* a prayer, I think most valid methods of prayer should be fine.  I'm not a religious scholar, but what's the most demonstrative type of private prayer?  Praying to Allah?  If somebody put a prayer rug down on the field after players cleared the field, I think it's all good. I don't think there's anything coercive about saying / showing that you're religious.

Is somebody was wearing a cross while teaching / coaching / working at the DMV, would you feel the same way?

I have a much bigger problem with "under God" or "in God we trust" than I do silent prayer by an individual.

Okay, I actually don't think we're far part of the issue actually. For most cases I'd agree. For example some local kid wants to go out there and pray then fine (still weird to me to do so at the fifty yard line, but sure). But when you are in a position of power especially over a group of young people (as a coach) I think this is just plainly wrong. The fifty yard line is a place on the field you go to explicitly to be seen. That, combined with the position he's in as a coach is what makes it problematic. It is coercive, MAYBE (being generous) not purposefully but I'm not sure that matters.

But also, he definitely did lead prayers.  There are literally pictures of him doing so in the local papers, which sort of speaks to my larger point here. Its a little weird for the Supreme Court to make up a seemingly more benign version of events in order to reach the decision they want, rather than just ruling on the facts at hand.

Regarding your last paragraph, I think the debate is about whether the school district would allow any accomodation.  Kennedy seemingly tried to comply with most of the requests of the school district:  no leading prayers, praying silently, not encouraging players, waiting until personnel was off the field, etc. 

I think if the coach had been fired immediately after the superintendent learned of the tradition of coach-led prayers (which pre-dated Kennedy, but which he continued), they would have been on firmer footing.  But, once they tried to intimately control what he could and couldn't do, and told him that he couldn't do certain things that he had a right to (i.e., private prayer in public view), then they messed up.


While he is there he's a football coach, he has power over young athletes. Him walking out to the fifty yard line puts coercive pressure on players to join him, and coercive religious pressure is not something we should see in a school or school sponsored setting. Period. Nobody is stopping him from praying, he just can't do it in the way he did. Its not fair to his students. And for what its worth, before this decision i think the supreme court largely agreed with me from what I've read on the topic.

I'm sorry I don't think he tried all that hard to make a reasonable accommodation, a reasonable accommodation would be pray privately. And, for what its worth, a "private" prayer in public, in the middle of a spectator field, is by no reasonable definition private. That's nonsensical, and really the entire issue here.

As for Kennedy's compliance, here's what it looks like (Quote from vox article)

Initially, the coach complied. But he soon unleashed a coordinated legal and PR campaign against the school district. About a month after the superintendent ordered Kennedy to stop preaching religion to his students, Kennedy’s lawyer informed the school district that the coach would resume praying at the 50-yard line immediately after games.

What followed was a circus. Kennedy went on a media tour presenting himself as a devout coach who “made a commitment with God” to performatively pray after each game. Good Morning America did a segment on him. Conservative media ran with headlines like “High School Coach Bullied Into Dropping Prayer at Football Games.” By the end of the month, 47 members of Congress — all Republicans — wrote to Leavell in support of Kennedy.

At the conclusion of the next game, coaches, players, and members of the general public mobbed the field when Kennedy knelt to pray. A federal appeals court described the rush of people onto the field as a “stampede,” and the school principal complained that he “saw people fall” and that, due to the crush of people, the district was unable “to keep kids safe.” Members of the school’s marching band were knocked over by the crowds.

Eventually, the school placed Kennedy on leave, and Kennedy did not reapply for his coaching position the next year. But he did sue, claiming that he has a constitutional right to say “a quiet prayer by himself at midfield after” football games where he is a coach.


This isn't some many just trying to prayer silently, its a guy who wanted to make a spectacle of himself.

No reasonable person could possibly see an employee of the school, on the job, in his uniform, at the fifty yard line, with students and  spectators present and see that as anything other than a school sponsored endorsement of religious practice. That should not be allowable, this supreme court just doesn't care.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2022, 01:56:11 PM by keevsnick »