(LEX 18) — Kentucky's chief justice has removed a judge from hearing a lawsuit challenging the authority of Gov. Matt Bevin's administration to investigate teacher protests.
Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. has disqualified Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd from presiding over the case brought by Bevin's rival, democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear.
Beshear is challenging Bevin in this year's race for governor.
Bevin's legal team sought Shepherd's removal because the judge "liked" a Facebook post showing a photo of a democratic lawmaker with a Beshear campaign volunteer.
Bevin's lawyers said that raised questions about Shepherd's impartiality.
Minton said he is sure that Shepherd would have presided in an unbiased manner.
But, Minton also said that the standard for disqualification was met.
Kenneth Mansfield, the deputy communications director for the Office of the Attorney General, sent this statement regarding Minton:
"We will continue to keep fighting to protect our teachers from this governor's bullying, investigations and threats," Beshear said. "Moving forward we are going to make sure the 1,000 teachers Matt Bevin claimed broke the law before a final report was even complete get the due process they deserve."
Elizabeth Kuhn, the Communications Director for the Office of Governor Matt Bevin sent LEX 18 the following statement in regard to Minton's decision:
"We strongly agree with Chief Justice Minton’s decision. This is another loss for Andy Beshear who fought to make sure that this purely political case would be decided by a judge who violated the rules of judicial conduct by supporting Andy’s campaign.”