The Clash at Midfield and More in Latest Issue of Bar News


In football, identifying a line and when it has been crossed can make all the difference. But what happens when a football coach approaches an invisible line?

In the case of Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, the U.S. Supreme Court was presented with a First Amendment controversy after a high school football coach began praying on the sidelines. When asked to decide whether such actions were protected speech or an unsanctioned blending of religious activities and public institutions, a 6-3 majority found that the coach’s First Amendment rights had been suppressed and reversed the lower court’s decision.

Of course, such a case touches on far more than the mere letter of the law; Kennedy tapped into the tumultuous debate between church and state. In the cover feature of the latest issue of Washington State Bar News, Caesar Kalinowski IV, a First Amendment and media litigator, examines the Court’s decision and explains the legal questions at play, as well as the opinions expressed by both the affirming and dissenting justices. Additionally, Jeffrey Helsdon, who served as local counsel in Kennedy, provides his own firsthand observations.

Also in the new issue of Bar News, we further explore the mystery of what caused a De Havilland DHC-3 Otter to crash in Mutiny Bay on Sept. 4, taking the lives of 10 people. The National Transportation Safety Board has released an updated report on the accident investigation, and aviation law attorneys Robert Hedrick and Kerry Kovarik have a detailed breakdown and analysis of the report, following up on their earlier coverage to continue searching for an explanation of what happened, how it relates to other plane crashes, and what’s being done to prevent further tragedy.

Lisa H. Mansfield spends time with Washington Supreme Court Justice Debra Stephens, discussing at length the role of the judiciary, rights and responsibilities, and the rule of law. Erin Caldwell shares her perspective as a former patent prosecutor to shed more light on the U.S. patent system and how it can fail small businesses. We also have a bevy of letters responding to Bar News content, including the topics of misgendering, the bar structure review, and systemic racism.

President Daniel D. Clark gives thanks for WSBA volunteers at all levels, WSBA Treasurer Francis A. Adewale provides an outline of the WSBA fiscal process, Mark Fucile goes over the ethics of RPC 2.3 and what it says about lawyers offering “evaluations” to third persons, Lauren E. Sancken gives tips for what to do when it feels like you’re spinning your wheels with legal research, Valerie McOmie walks you through some of the most recent important Washington Supreme Court decisions, and much more.