Ky. AG Daniel Cameron, Gov. Beshear file Supreme Court briefs in COVID-19 executive order case

Cameron says filing in support of Kentucky businesses and families
AG Daniel Cameron claimed Gov. Beshear's executive orders put in place due to COVID-19 are...
AG Daniel Cameron claimed Gov. Beshear's executive orders put in place due to COVID-19 are unconstitutional.(WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Aug. 29, 2020 at 12:14 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has filed a brief in the Kentucky Supreme Court against Governor Beshear, claiming his executive orders put in place due to COVID-19 are unconstitutional.

The move comes a month after a ruling on July 20 where a Boone County Circuit Court Judge found the Governor’s executive orders unconstitutional.

While the ruling was made, the Supreme Court later blocked temporary injunctions issued by the court in Boone County, as well as in Scott County, that would have blocked certain executive orders issued by Beshear.

Cameron’s office released a statement 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.”

The newly filed brief argues that the actions by Governor Beshear are unconstitutional and violates the Kentucky Constitution, saying the orders exercise “absolute and arbitrary government power.”

Governor Beshear’s office also filed a brief on Saturday, stating the Court has determined the case is of great and immediate importance. The filed brief from 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.

Beshear discussed the Supreme Court ruling and the initial argument from the Attorney General back in July during a press briefing.

“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.”

The governor said the argument was that the whole group of statutes passed by the general assembly was unconstitutional, not his procedure under them.

“The positions that were taken are you shouldn’t be able to do it at all, and we hope people will wear masks,” Beshear said.

The Supreme Court cited a need for a clear and consistent statewide health policy in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic back in July. Oral arguments for the case will be heard on September 17.

To view the full brief filed by Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office, click or tap here.

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