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Kentucky Supreme Court hear arguments on governor's coronavirus executive orders

Posted at 10:27 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 13:13:32-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Kentucky Supreme Court is hearing arguments on Gov. Andy Beshear's executive orders during the pandemic.

In Thursday morning arguments, Governor Beshear's general counsel, La Tasha Buckner, said the governor did not overstep his power to make those decisions. She told the court that the governor had every right to issue these orders during an emergency. She says the constitution requires the governor to act during an emergency. and she emphasized that these orders have saved thousands of lives.

The attorney general's team says this is not a question about whether or not the governor's orders are right or wrong. They're concerned that he is going above his constitutional power to make these decisions for every person in Kentucky. They say to make some of these decisions, there is a different process to go through.

The court first stepped in back in July to put a hold on lower court decisions that would have struck down Gov. Beshear's orders. Gov. Beshear's orders, including the mask mandate and capacity limits for businesses, have remained in effect awaiting a decision from Kentucky's highest court.

The decision could mean "life or death," Gov. Beshear said at his coronavirus briefing Wednesday.

"I don't get it. If they win, we still lose," Gov. Beshear said. "We will do worse in our fight against COVID. It will spread more, more people will pass away. People that we all love and care about."

Attorney General Daniel Cameron responded to the Governor's comments Wednesday evening in a statement:

"The Governor's rhetoric is irresponsible. Our Constitution leaves ample room for the Governor to do what is in the best interests of Kentuckians with respect to COVID-19 without violating their Constitutional rights by enforcing arbitrary and overly broad executive orders. This includes working with the General Assembly to enact laws that appropriately respond to the current health crisis, which he has refused to do."