High court won’t block Beshear’s order halting in-person classes at religious schools

High court won’t block Beshear’s order halting in-person classes at religious schools
Gov. Andy Beshear (D-Ky.) and Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R-Ky.) (Source: WAVE 3 News / Facebook)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to block an order by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear that bars in-person, K-12 education until early January in areas hard hit by COVID-19.

The decision rejects a plea from Danville Christian Academy. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a brief last week on behalf of the school, and said Beshear’s order “violates the First Amendment Rights of Kentuckians.”

Read the Supreme Court’s ruling below:

(Story continues below the lawsuit)

Cameron had argued that Beshear’s order unfairly targeted religious schools, but Justice Samuel Alito rejected that argument in his dissent:

“The Order applies equally to secular schools and religious schools, but the applicants argue that the Order treats schools (including religious schools) worse than restaurants, bars, and gyms, for example, which remain open,” he wrote in the seven-page ruling.

The justices opined that Beshear’s order will effectively expire at the end of the week anyway because schools are about to begin their Christmas vacation, and can open again in early January.

The order “effectively expires this week or shortly thereafter, and there is no indication that it will be renewed,” Alito wrote.

The Kentucky Democratic Party was quick to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision, sharing a statement with media that read in part:

“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that we must all do our part to slow this virus and affirmed that Gov. Beshear was justified in taking measures to slow COVID-19 in Kentucky. Gov. Beshear has acted lawfully, decisively and with compassion to save lives during this pandemic.”

WAVE 3 News’ John P. Wise contributed to this report.

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