Trio of citizens claim Kentucky legislature must remove Governor Beshear

Published 9:38 pm Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Three Kentucky citizens demanding the impeachment of Gov. Andy Beshear say a unanimous state Supreme Court ruling in favor of the governor’s COVID-19 shutdowns does not relieve the General Assembly of its obligation to remove him.

The petitioners’ formal response to Beshear’s defense was filed Tuesday and obtained exclusively by The State Journal. In his own 45-page document filed Friday and first reported by The State Journal, Beshear called the impeachment petition a “vendetta” by disgruntled political activists and leaned heavily on the Supreme Court’s endorsement of his executive powers during a public health emergency.

But three of the petitioners — Jacob Clark of Grayson County, Tony Wheatley of Mercer County and Andrew Cooperrider of Fayette County — argue that the legislature is constitutionally bound to act independent of the judicial branch, which they called a “#TeamKentucky cheerleader,” referencing the Supreme Court’s use of Beshear’s social media slogan during the pandemic.

A fourth person, Randall Daniel of Bullitt County who signed the original petition did not sign the latest document, saying he hadn’t had an opportunity to thoroughly review it.

A special House committee appointed to consider the Beshear impeachment and at least two other impeachment petitions against state officials will meet again at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

“The fundamental question is this: will this legislature exercise its constitutional prerogatives to appropriately take action to re-establish co-equal branches of government, or instead permit continued infringements to occur?” the petitioners wrote in Tuesday’s filing.

The petitioners claim Beshear’s restrictions on public gatherings, out-of-state travel and evictions violated the state and U.S. constitutions, as did a loan from the federal government to cover unemployment benefits and changes in voting procedures in the 2020 elections.