FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) -- Attorney General Daniel Cameron is awaiting word on whether the U. S. Supreme Court will take up his appeal of a ruling by the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which upheld Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order closing private religious schools through the end of the year.
“The process can go one of two ways,” Cameron told Kentucky Today on Tuesday. “Justice Brett Kavanaugh can make the decision independent of his colleagues, or he can refer it for consultation by all of his colleagues. It would be his decision to stay the decision that was rendered by the Court of Appeals. He could make that decisions or consult with his colleagues and they could collectively make that decision. It would be their discretion on how that process goes from here.”
Cameron filed the request Monday on behalf of 20 religious schools and over 1,500 parents.
He is optimistic because of a recent ruling in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo case based out of New York.
“We think we have a very strong case in light of the decision by the Supreme Court in the Diocese case last week, as it relates to having in-person worship services, and really protecting that right to do that, in light of the First Amendment, where they tried to preclude in-person worship services.”
Cameron says his suit speaks to the larger issue of free exercise of religion.
“I wholeheartedly agree and think that parents and your readers as well, would agree that the act itself of sending a child to a religiously-affiliated school, is an act of worship. It is a free exercise in itself.”
He quoted U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who said, “The Constitution perhaps can take a nap, but it cannot sleep for prolonged periods of time.”
Cameron also quoted U.S. Attorney General William Barr saying, “Even in the midst of a pandemic, the constitution cannot be suspended.”
He believes most Kentuckians agree with him.
Gov. Andy Beshear defended his actions saying “all he is asking is for everybody to make the same sacrifice to stop the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Beshear said, “The Attorney General wants to create exceptions to that, which will just spread the virus further.”
“The state already regulates multiple aspects of religious schools. The cafeteria has to comply with different codes and requirements. You can’t say that is an expression, therefore we don’t have to follow them. The curriculum, you have to teach math. There are already a number of regulations that apply to all schools equally.”