SEATTLE (AP) — The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has heard oral arguments from lawyers in the case of a Washington state high school football coach who lost his job for praying on the field.

The Kitsap Sun reports the three-judge panel heard arguments Monday in Seattle.

Joe Kennedy is suing the Bremerton School District, saying it violated his religious rights. Kennedy claims his rights to free speech and religious expression were violated when the district in September 2015 barred him from praying after games on the 50-yard line.

Kennedy initially accepted the prayer ban, but later defied it.

The district argues that Kennedy violated its policy upholding the separation of church and state.

Kennedy was placed on paid leave and his contract was not renewed in 2016.

The Ninth Circuit panel will issue a written decision on Kennedy's appeal.

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