Whatever became of the Heartbeat (SB9) and Anti-eugenics (HB5) bills that became law last March? Will discovery be allowed for the state of Kentucky to defend these laws?
You may be asking, what is discovery in a legal context? Here is Dictionary.Law.com’s definition:
n. The entire efforts of a party to a lawsuit and his/her/its attorneys to obtain information before trial through demands for production of documents, depositions of parties and potential witnesses, written interrogatories (questions and answers written under oath), written requests for admissions of fact, examination of the scene and the petitions and motions employed to enforce discovery rights. The theory of broad rights of discovery is that all parties will go to trial with as much knowledge as possible and that neither party should be able to keep secrets from the other (except for constitutional protection against self-incrimination). Often much of the fight between the two sides in a suit takes place during the discovery period.
Why has discovery not been permitted so far? Here begins a brief blog series to examine the EMW Clinic legal case against these laws.
We will look at documents filed by our attorneys and EMW’s on the PACER website. PACER is the Public Access to Court Electronic Records website that lets anyone create a login and search for case information.
If discovery is permitted by the judge, it is sure to be enlightening, but we may be on the brink of an opposing conclusion. Nevertheless, assuming Gov. Bevin is re-elected, the case probably will be pursued to the Appeals Court.
Four law entities are pursuing the case to quash HB5 and SB9 on behalf of the EMW clinic:
- The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, NY, NY
- Ackerson & Yann, PLLC , Louisville, KY
- ACLU of Kentucky Foundation, Louisville, KY
- O’Melveny & Myers, NY, NY
Kentucky is defending this case with attorney services from the Office of the Governor and the Cabinet for Health and Human Services since our Attorney General refused to defend them.
The opposition has termed HB5 the Reason Ban and SB9 the 6-week Ban. They have lumped these together in their suit that initially sought both a temporary restraining order and/or a temporary injunction as well as a permanent injunction, and now requests a summary judgment— asking the judge to reject these laws as unconstitutional, to dismiss the suit, and to permanently enjoin the defendants (our state) from "enforcing, attempting to enforce, threatening to enforce, or otherwise requiring compliance with SB9 and HB5…". (Enjoin in a legal context means to order.) That means never again could these issues be revisited in any legislation our senators or representatives propose.
The Judge in charge of this case is David J. Hale. From the Ballotpedia website, we read: …President Barack Obama nominated Hale to fill a vacancy on the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. Hale was confirmed to the court on December 3, 2014, by a voice vote of the Senate.