Andy Beshear | AG’s office working hard despite false claims

Published 9:01 pm Wednesday, February 15, 2017

By Attorney General Andy Beshear

Kentucky’s Attorney General is the people’s lawyer – not the governor’s lawyer and not the legislature’s lawyer. 

That is why I believe you deserve the truth. 

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Recently, the governor used taxpayer dollars to film a political video claiming that I was not defending state agencies sued over the newly passed House Bill 2, which created a mandatory ultrasound and explanation law. That is blatantly untrue. 

My office is defending two state agencies in the lawsuit, where we have taken the most aggressive action possible, seeking to dismiss the lawsuit entirely against these parties. I also stand ready to defend other agencies that may be sued under the law.

You do not have to take my word for it. 

The Courier-Journal called Bevin’s video “a false attack.” 

The Herald-Leader stated, “Gov. Matt Bevin presented himself as either ignorant or dishonest.”

WFPL Radio called the attacks false and “unfounded.”

They are all correct. 

It is simply a fact that my office is defending the lawsuit.  

Instead of apologizing, Gov. Bevin has doubled down by circulating a column to local newspapers where he not only continues his false attack to Kentuckians, but he goes even further, trying to mislead you about my duty to the people of Kentucky.

Gov. Bevin wants you to believe that I, as your elected attorney general, should answer to him and not the people of Kentucky. 

He wants you to believe that I should ignore our Constitution, the bedrock law that protects your rights. 

If I did as Gov. Bevin suggests, you would have no one to stand up for you when the legislature and governor make decisions against your constitutional rights. 

Ask yourself these questions. 

If the General Assembly passed a law that revokes your gun rights and the governor signs the bill into law, do you want an attorney general who rolls over, or one who stands up and fights against the new law? 

What if the General Assembly passed a law that discriminates against your religion or church and the governor signs that bill into law, do you want an attorney general who fights to protect your religious rights? 

Just as President Trump’s nominee for U.S. Attorney General has testified – the AG must be independent, must be faithful to the Constitution and must remember he owes his duties to the people. 

But, again, you don’t have to take my word for it. 

Kentucky’s highest court – all the way back in 1974 – made it clear. 

In Hancock v. Paxton, the Kentucky Attorney General sued the executive branch – led by the governor – to have a law thrown out. 

The state’s highest court ruled the AG was doing his job. 

It reminded our leaders that under the United States and Kentucky Constitution, the people – and not the governor – are the sovereign or king. The attorney general’s duty was therefore to the people and not to the government. 

The court also made crystal clear that the very first duty of an attorney general “was to uphold the Constitution, which surely embraces the power to protect it from attacks in the form of legislation.”  

That has been the law for 43 years, and Gov. Bevin knows it. 

That’s because the Kentucky Supreme Court reaffirmed my duty to protect the Constitution from overreach by a governor or unconstitutional legislation in a case called Beshear v. Bevin. 

But my fight isn’t about Beshear versus Bevin. 

It’s about making Kentucky a safer place for every citizen. 

The hard working Kentuckians in my office come to work every day focused on ways to make every community a better place to live and raise a family. 

They spend their time arresting child molesters and drug dealers; prosecuting violent criminals; standing up against corporate fraud; protecting senior citizens; returning money to folks who’ve been scammed; and fighting against increases to citizens’ electric and water bills.

Part of that work is to uphold the Constitution, the very oath I took as your attorney general when I put my hand on my family Bible over a year ago and swore an oath to protect the rights afforded every citizen by the Constitution.

Sometimes that is not easy. 

Sometimes it is not popular.

But it is my duty.

Doing that duty is the only check that prevents any governor or any lawmaker from stripping you of your constitutional rights, whether it is, for example, to bear arms or to practice your religion.

My wish is that the governor would stop these false attacks and focus more on using his office to better Kentucky for every citizen, the same ones my office works tirelessly to protect every day.

In the meantime, I will continue doing my true duty as your attorney general – protecting your family, enforcing the rule of law and protecting the Constitution. – Attorney General Andy Beshear.

– Attorney General Andy Beshear.