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Supreme Court upholds Ky. Gov. Andy Beshear's pandemic-related executive orders

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Posted at 11:29 AM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 20:50:11-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear Thursday morning announced the Supreme Court unanimously upheld executive orders he had put in place earlier this year in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

His announcement came less than a day after the commonwealth reported more than 2,700 new cases of COVID-19.

"This ruling gives us an opportunity to get this virus under control," Beshear said during a news conference. "For those of us following the rules, keep it up. To those who have fought this thing hard but are tired and may be slipping, we need you to step it back up. And to those who haven't been following the guidelines and don't want to, I hope you have a change of heart."

Perhaps most controversial of Beshear's executive orders, issued in the early months of the pandemic, was the Democrat's statewide mask mandate, first issued in July and then renewed multiple times since. The court's ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican.

"Politics has no place in something like this because the virus doesn't care," Beshear said Thursday. "As the Supreme Court said today, nobody is sacrificing their constitutional rights."

Beshear also addressed concerns raised by Cameron and some state legislators who argued the executive orders violated separation of power rules in the commonwealth.

"Something like this, on this scale, does take the ability of a strong executive branch for the right kind of response," the governor said. "The last thing I want to do is keep an emergency for COVID in place when it's not needed. I want to get through this as much as you do."