The Kentucky Supreme Court has put on hold all lower court rulings, including one made in Scott Circuit Court, involving Gov. Andy Beshear’s emergency orders and and has directed the orders to be transferred to the Supreme Court.
The state’s highest court issued the unanimous ruling Friday afternoon capping a day when the governor said a Boone Circuit Judge had indicated he would void all of Beshear’s orders related to the coronavirus.
Chief Justice D. Minton wrote the three-page order issuing the stay, “…any lower court order, after entry, be immediately transferred to the clerk of the Supreme Court for consideration by the full court.
“Given the need for a clear and consistent 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.”
Beshear bypassed the Court of Appeals and went straight to the Supreme Court when Attorney General Daniel Camron, who has intervened on multiple cases challenging the governor’s executive orders, asked Boone County Circuit Judge Richard Brueggemann to block all of the governor’s orders, including his most recent order that made masks mandatory.
The Boone County case was filed by an automobile race track and day care centers. The Scott County case was filed by Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles on behalf of Evans Orchard and Cider Mill and the state’s 548 agri-tourism businesses. Brueggermann issued a stay on the track and day cares and Scott Circuit Judge Brian Privett issued a stay in the case of the agri-tourism businesses.
The governor called the cases “reckless” and said a reversal of his orders would cost lives.
Cameron has said he is “looking forward to having the Supreme Court take up these issues,” and said all he wants is for the governor to follow Kentucky law when such orders are issued.
The Supreme Court stated the Boone and Scott circuit courts, “may proceed with matters before them and issue all findings of fact and conclusions of law they find appropriate but no order, however characterized, shall be effective.”
The stay will remain in effect until the Supreme Court has an opportunity to review the full record of proceedings and issues a final order regarding the “paramount public importance” of the COVID-19 public health orders.