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Judge Grants Statewide Temporary Restraining Order Against Some of Governor Beshear’s COVID-19 Executive Orders Following Lawsuit by Attorney General Cameron and Kentucky Businesses

Judge Grants Statewide Temporary Restraining Order Against Some of Governor Beshear’s COVID-19 Executive Orders Following Lawsuit by Attorney General Cameron and Kentucky Businesses

Bill Stephens

July 3rd, 2020

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Restraining order applies to Governor Beshear’s executive orders related to childcare centers and automobile racetracks

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 3, 2020) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced today that a Boone Circuit Judge entered a temporary restraining order against some of Governor Andy Beshear’s COVID-19 executive orders, following a lawsuit brought by several Northern Kentucky businesses and joined by the Attorney General.  The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of Governor Beshear’s use of executive power during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Attorney General Cameron joined the Northern Kentucky businesses this week in challenging Governor Beshear’s broad emergency authority and his extensive micromanaging of the lives and livelihoods of Kentuckians through arbitrary executive orders.

In a hearing this week, Circuit Court Judge Richard A. Brueggemann ruled in favor of the Kentucky businesses and granted their request for a temporary restraining order against some of the Governor’s COVID-19 executive orders.  The order stops the statewide enforcement of the Governor’s executive orders as they apply to childcare centers and automobile racetracks.

“Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Beshear’s restrictive executive orders have shuttered the Commonwealth’s economy, leaving nearly half of our workforce unemployed and dictating the manner in which Kentuckians can live their lives,” said Attorney General Cameron.  “While there is no doubt a need to protect public health during this pandemic, our Constitution expressly prohibits one person from controlling every aspect of life for Kentuckians.  The statewide temporary restraining order issued today suggests the court shares our concern that the Governor’s executive orders are arbitrary and violate the constitution.”

The lawsuit argues that since Governor Beshear declared an emergency on March 6, 2020, he has arbitrarily issued complex, overbroad, and often conflicting orders. Attorney General Cameron argues that the Governor has the right—indeed, the duty—to protect the Commonwealth and its citizens from a public health emergency. But, the law requires that the Governor’s actions and orders be targeted and proportional to the threat the Commonwealth is confronting.

Governor Beshear’s broad emergency declaration and arbitrary executive orders have allowed him to micromanage the economy and the daily lives of every Kentucky citizen for nearly four months through executive orders, without regard for the separation of powers granted to the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government in Kentucky’s Constitution. 

The case continues, and the court will now consider each of the Attorney General’s claims, including that the Governor has violated the rights enshrined in Section 1 of the Kentucky Constitution, acted arbitrarily in violation of Section 2, and failed to provide due process to those Kentuckians of whom he has taken away rights.

To view a copy of the temporary restraining order, click here.

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