HELP US KEEP REPORTING. DONATE TO ORLANDO WEEKLY PRESS CLUB.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Rick Scott's former lawyer to represent Florida Christian schools' lawsuit to use loudspeakers for prayer

Posted By on Sat, Dec 28, 2019 at 10:40 AM

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
  • Photo via U.S. Department of Justice
Jesse Panuccio, who served as general counsel to former Gov. Rick Scott, will represent a Tampa Christian school in a long-running legal fight about whether the Florida High School Athletic Association should have allowed a prayer before a championship football game.

Panuccio, who also served as director of the state Department of Economic Opportunity under Scott, filed a document this week in federal court indicating he will represent Cambridge Christian School. The school filed the lawsuit in 2016 against the athletic association after Cambridge Christian and University Christian School of Jacksonville were prevented from using a stadium loudspeaker to offer a prayer before a 2015 championship game at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.



The lawsuit alleged that the athletic association violated First Amendment rights by denying access to the loudspeakers for the prayer. U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell dismissed the case in 2017, finding that allowing such a prayer would “be perceived as state endorsement of Cambridge Christian's religious message.” But the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month sent the case back to Honeywell, saying the issues deserve closer scrutiny.

In recent weeks, state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has become involved, calling on the athletic association to review its policies “to ensure religious expression is permitted to the greatest extent possible under the law.”

Panuccio, who became a top-ranking official at the U.S. Department of Justice after leaving the Scott administration, works in Florida and Washington with the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner.

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 14, 2020

View more issues

Calendar

© 2020 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation