Texas Supreme Court Favors Kountze Cheerleaders In Bible Banner Case

Published 5:55 pm Friday, January 29, 2016

Austin, Texas – Today, in an 8-0 decision, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Kountze Cheerleaders who wrote Bible verses on their run-through banners for school football games. Liberty Institute and Beaumont Attorney David Starnes is representing the cheerleaders and the has case received national attention and the cheerleaders have had the support of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator Cornyn, Gov. Greg Abbott, and Attorney General Ken Paxton.

In 2012 the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) filed a complaint with the Kountze ISD because of the cheerleaders’ use of scripture. The school district caved to FFRF’s demands and banned the cheerleaders’ signs. The school district claimed the banners are government speech, which can be censored, while the cheerleader’s attorneys at Liberty Institute contended that the banners were the cheerleaders’ private speech and protected under Texas law.

Today’s decision of the Texas Supreme Court case of Matthews v. Kountze will return the case to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth District in Beaumont, Texas.

Regarding the decision, Texas Values President and Attorney, Jonathan Saenz, stated: “Today we celebrate the victory of free speech and the First Amendment rights of Texans. These brave cheerleaders refused to back down on their beliefs, even when faced with the typical losing intimidation tactics of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The fearless resolve of these Texas cheerleaders will impact generations to come. We are grateful that the Texas Supreme Court upheld our Constitutional rights and we congratulate our friends at Liberty Institute for their tireless work on this important case. Now, we anticipate the 9th Court of Appeals will rule in favor of the cheerleaders and permanently ensure their Constitutional liberty.”

“Religious liberty, deemed by our nation’s founders as the ‘First Freedom,’ is the foundation upon which our society has been built,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said. “I’m pleased the Texas Supreme Court has ensured that the Kountze cheerleaders will be able to continue defending their right to express their faith – the most fundamental of American freedoms.”

You can read the opinion of the Court’s decision here: http://www.txcourts.gov/media/1284936/140453.pdf