Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has filed a motion to suspend executive orders designed to protect the public from the global pandemic currently ravaging the country, and on the rise in the Commonwealth.
In a motion filed Wednesday, Cameron asked the Boone County Circuit Court to issue a temporary injunction nullifying the governor’s orders. Cameron makes numerous claims in the filing, arguing Gov. Andy Beshear’s orders exceed his authority as governor, violate the state Constitution and are unequally applied among Kentucky residents.
Beshear responded in a tweet, saying: “With no rules, there is no chance of getting kids back to school, we will lose over $10 billion in our economy and many Kentuckians will die. I hope everyone understands how scary and reckless this is.”
Despite scientific evidence showing a decrease in cases following the governor’s orders, Cameron also claims that removing the orders would not “unduly harm” the defendants in the case — or by extension, Kentucky residents.
“In each of these ways, this unchecked, totalitarian use of emergency authority violates the ‘inherent and inalienable rights’ of the people,” the motion states. “Its very nature, antithetical to democratic ideals, and is contrary to the customs and maxims of a free people.”
In turn, the governor’s counsel asked the court to dismiss the attorney general’s motion Thursday morning arguing the governor has the constitutional authority to protect the health and safety of Kentuckians using scientifically-derived measures.
Kentucky experienced a nearly 50% percent increase in positive cases of COVID-19 between July 6 and July 12, when compared to the previous week. More than 20,000 Kentuckians have contracted the virus and 645 have died as a result.
Beshear’s March 6th executive order declaring a state of emergency was one of 48 that have been announced across the country, according to the motion. Since then, the governor’s counsel argues Beshear and the health cabinet have taken a scientific approach to prohibiting high-risk activities to decrease the public’s chance of exposure to COVID-19.
“Their claims – if successful – would leave the Governor with no ability to enact public health measures to slow the escalation of cases. Put simply, their claims are dangerous,” wrote Beshear’s counsel.
The latest court filings come in the wake of Appeals Court Judge Glenn Acree striking down Beshear’s coronavirus-related restrictions for Florence Speedway, child care centers and more than 500 businesses in the agritourism industry. In that case, Acree said the innate wisdom and common sense of Kentuckians would be enough to protect Kentuckians from the ongoing threat posed by the virus.