Fourth in the Amici series
AG Beshear argues that he is a constitutional officer whose source of authority is the people who establish the government, and his primary obligation is to the people. Drawing from language in a previous court case, he states the “Attorney General owes his primary duties to the people – not the Governor or General Assembly…”
Although we can’t speak to every possible or actual case, we do know that the citizens of Kentucky voted for the statute in question and most recently for a heavily pro-life legislature, so if AG Beshear’s primary obligation is to us, then he must uphold pro-life laws and not seek to strike them.
After all, in Kentucky, the majority is based on population, not on geography. The population has spoken. The geographic areas with a majority of pro-choice voters are only in some metro areas. (The graphic shows the 2016 Presidential Election with only Jefferson and Fayette counties in blue.)
He also argues in the Amicus that he “has not only the power to bring suit when he believes the public's legal or constitutional interests are under threat, but … even the duty to do so.” (based on a legal case concerning a mining company in 1973)
Because the regulation at issue in this action threatens Kentucky women’s constitutional right to access to abortion, the Attorney General is permitted to file this amicus to protect the constitutional interests of the public.
Under the Kentucky Constitution, Kentucky statute, and common law, the Attorney General is sworn to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and Kentucky and to defend the laws of the Commonwealth, so long as those laws pass constitutional muster.
In addition to protecting the U.S. Constitution, AG Beshear desires to support Judge Stivers’ ruling that the Bevin Administration not only defended a needless regulation with no basis in medical science, he even did so on an emergency basis, and threatened hospitals that participated in transfer agreements.
What exactly did the Bevin administration do?