FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and stop Gov. Andy Beshear’s ban on in-person classes for religious schools.
The Kentucky AG filed an emergency application on Monday imploring the court to uphold a U.S. District Court judge’s earlier ruling that Beshear could not stop classes at religious schools. The 6th Circuit Court ruled for the governor in an appeal on Sunday morning.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that religious institutions cannot be treated different than secular activities, and we are asking the court to simply apply the same analysis to the Governor’s disparate treatment of religious schools and other secular activities,” Cameron said in a news release. “We’re committed to pursuing every available option to protect the constitutional rights of Kentuckians, and today’s filing with the Supreme Court is the next step.”
He appeared Monday morning on Fox News, saying they were ready to send the case to the Supreme Court. He followed through later in the afternoon.
“Kentuckians have a First Amendment right to exercise their faith through a religious education, and we maintain that the Governor is clearly infringing upon that right by closing religious schools,” he said.
Cameron says a religious education is a core part of the freedoms protected by the First Amendment, and the Governor’s order shuttering religious schools is unconstitutional. More than 1,500 Kentucky parents and 20 religious schools joined the AG in filing an amicus brief before the Court of Appeals in the case.
In the application filed before the U.S. Supreme Court Monday, the attorney general notes that in deciding the Governor’s order is neutral and generally applicable, the Court of Appeals narrowly compared religious schools only to secular schools, and “ignored Executive Order 2020-968 and the various guidance documents issued by the Governor that permit the operation of everything in Kentucky except K-12 schools and indoor consumption at bars and restaurants.”
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the New York based case Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo that governors cannot impose more stringent restrictions on religious institutions than they do on secular gatherings.
Cameron is asking the Supreme Court to apply the same analysis to Kentucky’s religious schools and prevent the Governor from treating religious schools more harshly than secular activities, such as concert venues and movie theaters, which are allowed to continue operating.
As of Monday evening, Gov. Beshear had not responded to Cameron's Supreme Court filing.