FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s highest court on Friday blocked lower courts from suspending the governor’s emergency orders related to the coronavirus pandemic pending its own review.
The state Supreme Court stepped into the dispute by issuing a stay on any orders halting enforcement of Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive actions. In doing so, the high court preempted a judge who was expected to sign an order blocking all of the governor’s COVID-19 orders.
In its dramatic order, the high court said two lower courts could proceed with coronavirus-related issues before them and issue “finding of fact and conclusions of law.” But the Supreme Court said “no order, however characterized, shall be effective.”
“Our stay shall continue until the full record of proceedings below is reviewed by this court, all parties have been given the opportunity to address the orders in briefs, and this court issues a final order addressing these issues of paramount public importance to all citizens of the commonwealth,” the Supreme Court said.
Earlier in the day, Attorney General Daniel Cameron said a Boone County circuit judge intended to sign an order blocking all of the governor’s emergency orders.
On Thursday, Boone County Judge Richard Brueggemann ruled for certain businesses to increase capacity following a day-long injunction hearing.
Some Kentucky businesses such as daycares, restaurants, and the Florence Speedway were looking forward to that relief. They had filed a lawsuit against Beshear’s COVID-19 orders.
“This whole situation has been pretty scary, our business, I don't want to say gutted, but it’s been severely hampered this year. And every little bit the judges can give us is a benefit,” said Josh King, who oversees the Florence Speedway.
That benefit was granted to King, but for a short-lived.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the state’s supreme court will hear the challenges faced by these businesses in the coming days.
Beshear’s office acknowledged it was anticipating a lower court order that would “void all of the orders the governor has issued to keep us safe.”