The court ruled 6-3 along ideological lines for the coach. The justices said the coach’s prayer was protected by the First Amendment.
“The Constitution and the best of our traditions counsel mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and suppression, for religious and nonreligious views alike,” wrote Justice Neil Gorsuch for the majority.
The case forced the justices to wrestle with how to balance the religious and free speech rights of teachers and coaches with the rights of students not to feel pressured into participating in religious practices. The outcome could strengthen the acceptability of some religious practices in the public school setting.
The decision is also the latest in a line of Supreme Court rulings for religious plaintiffs.