Kentucky’s chief prosecutor is suing his own governor for trying to keep religious private schools open, despite the state ordering virtual classes during the coronavirus epidemic.
An emergency hearing was held on Monday after Attorney General Daniel Cameron and First Liberty Institute filed a petition for an interim restraining order against Governor Andy 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.
“Governor Beshear continues to impose restrictions on religious rallies, which are clearly unconstitutional,” said Roger Byron, senior adviser to First Liberty, a Christian academy.
GREETING GREETINGS BETWEEN THE CROWN VIRUS, THIRD PARENTAL SPEECH
He added that “[t]the CDC has made it clear that one of the safest places for students to stay during an epidemic is at school. The court must reject Governor Beshear’s order and abide by the CDC and the law. “
Others, like UNICEF, have warned of the impact of closures on children’s lives. Last week, according to a United Nations agency, evidence shows that “the net benefits of keeping schools open outweigh the costs of closing.”
Beshear’s enforcement order issued last week argued that the state was “experiencing a potentially catastrophic surge in COVID-19 cases,” and Kentucky law authorized it to close all public and private schools to the K-12 class. Although it is not clear how the court will decide, the enforcement order required the virtual order to begin on Monday.
The lawsuit was just one in a series around the country that raised questions about how much 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 jumps in cases.
On Sunday, the Beshear office reported the most COVID-19 cases on Sunday.
“Most of all, I wish we could return to our normal state safely, but it can’t,” Beshear said. “To protect our only health worker and all of our Kentucky companions, let us hold small gatherings (eight people) or fewer and no more than two households) wear a mask, wash our hands, and stay six feet away.”
The governor added: “If the number of COVID-19 cases increases significantly after Thanksgiving, our hospitals will simply not be able to provide everyone with the care they need. Nothing is worth that risk.
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A Courier-Journal report said Beshear spokesman Crystal Staley referred to an earlier decision by the Kentucky Supreme Court that unanimously upheld Beshear’s jurisdiction over the outbreak at the time of the outbreak.
Representing clients across the country, First Liberty noted that it received a temporary restraining order earlier this year in connection with a coronavirus case on behalf of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Nicholasville, Kentucky.