KENTUCKY — The Kentucky Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, ruled in favor of Gov. Andy Beshear's coronavirus orders. The decision comes just one day after the Commonwealth reported its highest ever daily total of new cases.
What You Need To Know
- Kentucky Supreme Court rules in favor of Beshear's COVID-19 orders
- Decision follows legal challenge by Northern Kentucky businesses, AG Cameron
- Court calls Beshear's orders "Necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of all Kentucky citizens"
The ruling follows a lawsuit filed on behalf of three Northern Kentucky businesses, and joined by Attorney General Daniel Cameron, that argued the governor's virus-related orders had unfairly harmed them. Cameron claimed the orders were unconstitutional.
The businesses included in the lawsuit include Florence Speedway, a day care center, and a cafe.
"The Governor’s orders were, and continue to be, necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of all Kentucky citizens," the Court's ruling says. "This type of highly contagious etiological hazard is precisely the type of emergency that requires a statewide response and properly serves as a basis for the Governor’s actions under KRS Chapter 39A."
Beshear called the ruling "a win that protects all Kentuckians" during a press briefing Thursday morning.
"I'm done with politics when it comes to this battle for the lives of our neighbors and our friends across this great state. This is about saving lives of Kentuckians, period," Beshear said.
"Today's unanimous ruling sets a very clear, unambiguous message that the actions my administration has taken are both legal and constitutional and fundamental to an effective response to a type of virus that requires a comprehensive, statewide approach, he continued. "Without, we lose more people."
Cameron issued a response on twitter, saying he will always stand up for the constitutional rights of Kentuckians.
In its 103-page opinion, the Court denied virtually every claim brought against Beshear for his orders. The Court also shot down the plaintiffs' argument that Beshear should have involved the legislature with his coronavirus orders, saying the governor does not have to call the legislature into session if he doesn't want to, especially since KRS Chapter 39A exists, a 1952 law at the heart of the challenge. The law gives the governor emergency powers.
"While we recognize and appreciate that the Plaintiffs allege injuries to entire industries in the state, such as the restaurant and childcare industries, the interests of these industries simply cannot outweigh the public health interests of the state as a whole."
Prior to Thursday's ruling, legal battles over the orders waged over the summer. In mid-July, a Boone County Circuit Court Judge appeared ready to strike down Beshear's orders; however, the state Supreme Court then ordered a halt to any injunctions to Beshear's orders until it could review the cases.
The Court heard oral arguments in September concerning the orders. During the arguments, Beshear's attorney defended the orders, arguing they complied with the law while saving lives. Cameron's attorney, on the other hand, argued the orders weren't constitutional.