FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky’s Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the governor’s authority to issue coronavirus-related orders putting restrictions on businesses and individuals to try to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The ruling Thursday delivers a victory for Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear in a legal fight with the state’s Republican attorney general, Daniel Cameron.
The case revolved around the governor’s emergency powers.
The Supreme Court stepped in over the summer after a Boone County judge ordered a stay on all the governor’s orders. That case involved a daycare that sued over the number of children allowed at its facility and a race track that sued over restricted crowd sizes.
The attorney general joined the lawsuit against the governor and the mask mandate also became part of the case
After a hearing in September, the high court said Thursday’s decision came down to five points. They all went in favor of Governor Beshear.
1. Did he properly declare a state of emergency? The court said yes.
2. Did the governor’s orders need legislative approval? The court said no.
3. Did the governor’s orders need public notice? Again, the court said no.
4. Did the governor’s orders violate the state constitution? The court did say one sub-part of one order did, but it has been changed so it is moot.
5. The court said the rest of the orders were constitutional.
The Supreme Court ruled Beshear’s orders are necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, saying the pandemic “is precisely” the type of emergency requiring a response by the governor under state law.
The court also said the Boone county judge should not have issued an injunction blocking the governor’s orders in the first place.
The court’s decision comes amid Kentucky’s worst outbreak of the virus.