Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said he is suing Government Andy Beshear in an attempt to keep private religious schools open amid a state order to keep classes virtual during the coronavirus pandemic.
Cameron told Fox & Friends on Monday that while he respects Beshear’s “responsibility to keep people safe,” the state must “protect” religious freedoms and protect the rights to the First Amendment.
“And then when you tell people who are sending [students] to religiously affiliated schools, which is an act of worship in itself that they can not go to school, it violates the rights to the first change, ”he continued.
“You must have a delicate balance in keeping people safe and respecting the constitutional rights of our citizens,”
He added that his “responsibility as legal chief here in the Commonwealth is to defend our constitutional rights”, citing his reasoning to sue the governor.
Last week, an emergency hearing took place after Cameron and the First Liberty Institute filed a petition for a temporary detention order on Beshear. In the petition, Cameron argued that Beshear’s latest ordinance violated the constitutional freedoms of the Danville Christian Academy and other religious schools.
Beshear’s ordinance, issued earlier this month, claimed that the state “experienced a potentially catastrophic increase in COVID-19 cases” and that Kentucky law gave him the power to close all public and private schools to grade K-12.
KENTUCKY AG FILES DESCRIPTION OF ORDER AGAINST GOVERNOR TO BLOCK RELIGIOUS SCHOOL WEATHER
Speaking on CNN on Tuesday, Beshear said, “As far as schools are concerned, we are all treating the same and asking everyone to share this sacrifice.
“The same people have sued us every time we tried to do something to stop Covid-19,” he added. “Right now we can either all work towards the solution … or some of us can try to knock down the steps we are taking and the result is further lost lives that we can avoid.”
On Sunday, a three-judge panel in the Circuit Court faced Cameron in his lawsuit over keeping classrooms in religious schools open amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Courier Journal reported.
“We have had over 1,500 parents to take part in this lawsuit. We have had over almost 10 schools, Christian affiliated schools, also with us in this lawsuit, ”Cameron remarked on Monday.
“We won at the federal district court, which said that … it was appropriate to issue a state ban because it violated the rights to the First Amendment,” he continued. “A panel at the Sixth District Court disagreed and postponed this injunction, and then we are now ready to send our case to the Supreme Court.”
He went on to say: “Hopefully today we will apply for review by the Supreme Court.”
The trial was just one in a series around the country that raised questions about the extent to which authorities could restrict constitutional freedoms when declaring a public health crisis. Other jurisdictions like New York City have also announced shutdowns as the country saw an increase in cases.
On Sunday, less than two weeks after Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, announced that schools were closing due to a growing number of COVID-19 cases in the city, he reversed his decision, saying the city’s public schools will reopen on December 7 to 3-K, pre-K and kindergarten through fifth grade.
Agencies, such as UNICEF, have warned of the impact that closures have on children’s lives. Earlier this month, the UN agency said evidence showed that “the net benefits of keeping schools open outweigh the costs of closing them.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield has said the school is among the “safest” places for children to be.
Cameron said Monday that he “wholeheartedly” agrees that children should be back in school, adding that he knows that “over 1,500 parents who send children to privately-affiliated schools agree with this view. “
“I would go even further to say that I think most Kentucky parents want their children back in school,” he continued.
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“It is fundamental that our children come back and improve and develop in their own educational development. It is the core of progress in our society here at home and across the country. ”
Fox News’ Sam Dorman and Evie Fordham contributed to this report.