FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has filed a brief to the Kentucky Supreme Court against Gov. Andy Beshear, saying his COVID-19 executive orders are unconstitutional.
Last month, a Boone County Circuit Court judge granted a temporary restraining order against some of Gov. Beshear's COVID-19 executive orders. Days later, a Scott County Circuit Judge ordered the governor to cease issuing or enforcing executive orders related to COVID-19 unless the orders meet specific criteria for an emergency as outlined by state law. On July 17, the Kentucky Supreme Court issued a stay in both cases until the Supreme Court can hear arguments.
Cameron’s office released a statement Saturday saying that the Governor has “created a new legal code” by issuing more than 150 executive orders and guidance documents in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since the Governor issued an emergency declaration in March, he has unilaterally made the law in Kentucky without input from the General Assembly, the Commonwealth’s law-making body,” Attorney General Cameron said. “These laws have drastically changed how Kentuckians can live their lives, raise their families, operate their businesses, and make a living. The Governor simply does not have the authority to act as a one-man legislature, even during a pandemic.”
To view the full brief filed by Cameron, click here.
Gov. Beshear's office also filed a brief on Saturday, which states that the Court has determined his executive orders of great and immediate importance.
The filed brief from Gov. Beshear states that he, along with the Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Family Services and the Department of Public Health, took steps to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Gov. Beshear discussed the Supreme Court ruling and the initial argument (around the 47 minute mark) from the Attorney General during a press conference back in July.
“They say that the power to issue executive orders under an emergency, that’s chapter 39A, that the whole thing’s unconstitutional. So it’s not how we’ve done it, it’s that we can’t do it,” Beshear said. “If you read the order from the other day, they didn’t want us not only to enforce the ones we had but we couldn’t do any moving forward.”