Kentucky AG Cameron: School closure “violates” First Amendment rights

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has said he is suing Governor Andy Beshear for trying to keep religious private schools open amid a public order to keep classes virtual during a coronavirus epidemic.

Cameron told Fox & Friends Monday that while he respects Beshear’s “responsibility to keep people safe,” the state must “preserve” religious freedoms and First Amendment rights.

“And when you tell people who’s sending.” [students] to religious schools, which in itself is a worship that they cannot go to school, it violates the rights of the First Amendment, ”he continued.

“You need a delicate balance between keeping people safe and respecting the constitutional rights of our citizens,” Cameron stressed. “What he is [Beshear] has repeatedly violated the First Amendment free religious practice here in the Kentucky community. ”

He added that “here, as the chief legal officer in the Commonwealth, it is his job to protect our constitutional rights,” citing that he has filed a lawsuit against the governor.

An emergency hearing was held last week after Cameron and the First Liberty Institute filed a petition for a temporary detention order for Beshear. In the petition, Cameron argued that Beshear’s latest implementing provision violates the constitutional freedoms of the Danville Christian Academy and other religious schools.

Beshear’s enforcement order issued earlier this month stated that the state was “experiencing a potentially catastrophic surge in COVID-19 cases” and that Kentucky law had authorized it to close all public and private schools in K-12.


Speaking on CNN on Tuesday, Beshear said: “As far as schools are concerned, we treat everyone equally, asking everyone to share this sacrifice.

“The same people sued us every time we tried to do something to stop Covid-19,” he added. “Right now, we can either work towards a solution … or some of us can try to overthrow the steps we have taken, and the result is further losses that we can avoid.”

On Sunday, the Circuit Court’s three-judge panel sued Cameron to keep religious school classrooms open amid the coronavirus epidemic, the Courier Journal wrote.

– More than 1,500 parents have joined us in this lawsuit. More than 10 schools, schools belonging to Christian schools, have joined us in this lawsuit as well, ”Cameron remarked on Monday.

“We won in the federal district court, who said that … it is appropriate to issue a nationwide order because it violates the rights of the First Amendment,” he continued. “A panel of the Sixth District Court of Appeals disagreed and suspended this provision, so we are now ready to refer our case to the Supreme Court.”

He said: “Hopefully today we are asking for a Supreme Court review.”

The lawsuit was just one in a series around the country that raised questions about the extent to which the authorities could restrict constitutional freedoms when declaring a public health crisis. Other jurisdictions, such as New York City, have also announced shutdowns as the country has jumped in cases.

On Sunday, less than two weeks after Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that schools would be shut down in the city due to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, he changed his mind and said the city’s public schools would reopen. December 7, 3-K, pre-K and kindergarten to fifth grade.

Agencies, like UNICEF, have warned about the impact of closures on children’s lives. Earlier this month, according to the United Nations agency, evidence shows that “the net benefits of keeping schools open outweigh the costs of closing them.”

Robert Redfield, director of the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, said the school was the “safest” place for children.

Cameron said on Monday that he “wholeheartedly agrees” that children should return to school, adding that he knows “more than 1,500 parents agree with that feeling.”

“I’m going even further to say I think most Kentucky parents want their children to go back to school,” he continued.


“It is essential that our children return, improve and progress in their own educational development. This is an essential element of development in communities at home and across the country. ”

Fox News Sam Dorman and Evie Fordham contributed to this report.