TAMPA, Fla. – A federal appeals court will hear arguments in June in a battle about whether a Tampa Christian school should have been allowed to offer a prayer over a stadium loudspeaker before a 2015 high-school football championship game.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled arguments the week of June 26 in Jacksonville.
The court initially scheduled the arguments the week of May 1 but removed that hearing from its calendar last week.
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A court docket did not give an exact date for the June arguments. Cambridge Christian School went to the Atlanta-based appeals court last year after U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell backed a decision by the Florida High School Athletic Association to prevent a prayer over the loudspeaker.
Honeywell ruled that the association is a “state actor” and did not violate First Amendment rights in denying the prayer. But attorneys for Cambridge Christian contend that the association violated speech rights.
At least two bills (HB 225 and SB 308) have been filed for this year’s legislative session that could allow high schools to offer prayers over stadium loudspeakers before championship athletic events. The session will start on March 7.
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