Kentucky Supreme Court Hits Pause On COVID Challenge, Keeps Beshear Rules In Place
The Kentucky Supreme Court has issued a stay in the Scott and Boone County COVID-19 cases.
The high court wrote: "Given the need for a clear and consistent statewide public health policy and recognizing that the Kentucky legislature has expressly given the Governor broad executive powers in a public health emergency, the Court orders a stay of all orders of injunctive relief until such time as the various orders are properly before the Court with a full record of any evidence and pleadings considered by the lower courts."
The ruling halts a high-stakes dispute between Gov. Andy Beshear and Attorney General Daniel Cameron over whether the administration's coronavirus rules were enacted consistent with state law. Beshear has argued the state needs legal certainty on the matter, and he's seeking to circumvent lower courts in a bid to get a more timely decision amid a rise in COVID-19 cases.
The governor painted a stark picture of what a ruling against his emergency orders would mean for the commonwealth Thursday. In a briefing, the Democrat said Attorney General Daniel Cameron is asking a Boone County judge for a decision that could roll back all of the administration's coronavirus regulations — from caps on crowd size to the use of hand sanitizer.
"That's terrifying in the middle of a worldwide health pandemic," Beshear responded. "It would mean we would fail, and it means people would die."
Cameron argues the case isn't about policy but process. In a series of tweets, the Republican wrote that Beshear is not collaborating with elected leaders in both parties to create restrictions that "balance public health with the law."
"Judges at every level have found constitutional problems with his orders," the top law enforcement official added. "Instead of collaborating with our office and the General Assembly to fix these issues, he’s pointing fingers."
The governor is appealing adverse decisions dealing with regulations that apply to Florence Speedway and other Kentucky businesses.