Judges do not think directly about the constitution. Instead, the debate involves a matter of action: that the attorney general can revive him against the law after some government officials have said they will not continue to appeal the case.
Kentucky is one of the few countries to choose lawyers – providing the potential for violence if the governor of a country belongs to a different party. Should judges rule in favor of the attorney general in the case, abortionists are concerned that it could lead to more attempts to circumvent abortion laws if government officials are from opposition parties.
Kentucky law already has a strict code of conduct.
It was signed by Governor Matt Bevin, a Republican, and was immediately challenged by the EMW Women’s Surgical Center – and two of its doctors. They filed a lawsuit alleging that the law imposed an unreasonable burden on the right to abortion. At the time, Attorney General Andy Beshear, a Democrat, said his office had no jurisdiction to defend the law and agreed to be arrested by a political secretary.
After a five-day sentencing hearing, the circuit court reversed the decision, and the case was remanded for trial. At the same time, however, elections were held and Beshear became governor. In one election, Daniel Cameron, a Republican, was elected attorney general.
After the appellate court confirmed the district court, the division between the parties was reopened.
Beeshar officials say they will not take up the issue.
This prompted Cameron to file the case, trying to revive the dispute, but to no avail when the court appealed his case, saying his request was delayed. The lower court ruled that the attorney general’s office had already agreed to withdraw from the case, and it was now too late to try to get back inside.
Cameron appealed to the Supreme Court. Kentucky Attorney General Deputy Attorney General Matthew Kuhn told jurors that as a Kentucky lawmaker, Cameron has the final say on whether to accept a decision that required state law, and that even under the last attorney general, the office maintained the attorney general’s ability to “take part in any appeal.”
They said Cameron “had the ability to protect Kentucky’s interests when they were not represented” and that the legislative action represented a “hand from” one state to another.
In Tuesday, judges on both sides of the controversy questioned the lower court’s decision, and they appeared to want the case to proceed.
ACLU’s Alexa Kolbi-Molinas confirmed that the attorney general’s office had already spoken out against the law and that Cameron stood in “his predecessor’s shoes.”
“Intervention is not a revolving door,” he said, adding that the lower court did not take advantage of the fact that Cameron’s attempts to get into the matter were delayed.
But Judge Stephen Breyer ruled that Cameron could return to a lower court to stand trial. “There were a lot of changes to the party,” Beyer said.
And Chief Justice John Roberts said that although the attorney general’s office had stated in court that it would not defend the law back then, “it is not the last word. He noted that after the election, the change of parties fixed the ticket. Judge Elena Kagan, too, expressed concern that “no one” could defend the law.
Opponents of the law say the Supreme Court ruling will limit whether the appellate court was right to prevent Cameron from reviving the dispute. But because this issue deals with abortion, they fear that the loss could lead to Kentuckians losing abortion if Cameron could win.