KY Supreme Court Denies Transfer

SupremeCourtSept2008

The members of the Supreme Court of Kentucky are, standing, left to right; Deputy Chief Justice Will T. Scott, Justice Wil Schroder, Justice Mary C. Noble and Justice Bill Cunningham, and seated, left to right; Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson, Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. and Justice Daniel J. Venters.

The Kentucky Supreme Court has denied the plaintiff’s motion to transfer the case from the Kentucky Court of Appeals to the Kentucky Supreme Court.  No reason is given and none was required to be given. Transfer is at the discretion of the Court and the Court has decided
that the transfer should not be done.

This means that the Appeal filed by the Kentucky Attorney General’s office will be first hear by the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

The next step is for the  appellants (Kentucky Office of Homeland Security, et al.) to file their brief. Then the plaintiffs (American Atheists, et al.)  file their brief. There may also be amicus briefs (friend of court briefs by organizations like the ACLU) filed. There may or may not be oral arguments ordered.

This decision will result in this case taking longer to proceed than otherwise.

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Mayor Abramson Knows Nothing About Homeland Security Law

abramson

Louisville Mayor and KY Lt. Gov. Candidate Jerry Abramson

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson was today’s guest on the National Public Radio (NPR) program State Of Affairs. Abramson is also the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, running with incumbent Governor Steve Beshear.

I took the opportunity to call in and ask his opinion of the KY Homeland Security law and what he would do if he were governor. His response surprised me: “Is this a federal or state law?”

I informed him it was a state law. He then added that he would have to research the issue and could not provide an answer based upon my little “snippet.”  I will send an email to his office and request his response after his research is complete.

On the positive side, you could infer from his comments that he supports separation of church and state.

To hear all of the interview with Abramson, click the link below. Then click “Listen to the show.”  You can either save the mp3 file to your computer or listen to it with an mp3 application.  My question is in the middle of the interview.

Ask the Mayor

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Motion to Dismiss Video now Online

Edwin Kagin in His Office 23 Feb 2005 (02)The legal arguments of the Motion to Dismiss the Kentucky Homeland Security lawsuit is now available online at 

http://www.vimeo.com/7258475.

Lexington Herald-Leader Criticises Conway’s Appeal

It is obvious to many that candidate Conway's appeal was a political decision instead.

It is obvious to many that candidate Conway's appeal was a political decision and not an act of leadership and courage.

I will quote the text of an editorial from the Lexington Herald-Leader that you may also read at this webiste: http://www.kentucky.com/591/story/935968.html.

Public Policy or Plain Politics

As a sitting attorney general who is also a candidate for the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning’s retirement, it is imperative that Jack Conway keep the latter role from affecting his performance in the former.

Throughout the ongoing campaign, every action Conway takes in his official capacity, every opinion his office issues and every case it decides to pursue will be analyzed for potential political impact.

That is the reality he created for himself when he entered the Senate race.

And it is within the framework of that reality that his office’s questionable decision to file an appeal in a religious freedom case must be judged.

At issue is a 2006 statute that required the state Department of Homeland Security to stress in its official reports “dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the commonwealth.”

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate recently ruled that the statute violates the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty.

“This is the very reason the Establishment Clause was created: to protect the minority from the oppression of the majority,” Wingate wrote. “The commonwealth’s history does not exclude God from the statutes, but it had never permitted the General Assembly to demand that its citizens depend on Almighty God.”

It was a reasoned, logical decision that seems likely to be upheld on appeal.

Conway’s office, which defended the statute at the trial level, should have recognized it as such. Instead, it chose to appeal.

At any other time, such a course of action might be criticized as no more than an unwise waste of time and resources.

But now, in the midst of a senatorial campaign, it also raises another question.

How much did Bible Belt politics factor into the decision to take this crusade for the “Almighty God” statute to Kentucky’s higher courts?

Interview With Freethought Radio

This "plaque" is a threat to religious freedom!

This "plaque" is a threat to religious freedom!

My interview with Freethought Radio was broadcast today. You can hear the interview at http://airamerica.com/node/111658.  On my laptop, the radio would play until the first commercial break at 6:30 and then it would go back to the beginning. If this happens to you, move the progress bar until it is after 6:30 and press play. I am interviewed at that time.

You will be able to download the podcast from http://ffrf.org/radio/podcast/ soon, but it is not there as of today, September 12.

Interview with Freethought Radio

Attorney Edwin Kagin and Plaintiff Helen Kagin

Attorney Edwin Kagin and Plaintiff Helen Kagin

Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor of Freethought Radio interviewed me today, September 9, for a radio program that will air September 12. During this interview, Dan Barker credits Edwin Kagin and American Atheists.

The schedule for the broadcast of this interview may be found at http://ffrf.org/radio/.

Since the broadcast is not available in many cities, you may wish to subscribe to the podcast. The podcast becomes available a few days  after the broadcast. You may subscribe to the podcast at http://ffrf.org/radio/podcast/archives/2009.php.

A January 2009 interview with Freethought Radio may be found at http://media.libsyn.com/media/ffrf/FTradio_143_011709.mp3.  While that interview was satisfying, I believe that today’s interview was much better.

Attorney General Conway to Appeal KY Homeland Security Decision

Attorney General Jack Conway has decided to appeal the decision of Franklin County Judge Thomas Wingate that the Kentucky Homeland Security law is unconstitutional.

Is this "plaque" worth hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars?

Is this "plaque" worth hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars?

Conway is a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Jim Bunning. Many political analysts have voiced the opinion that Conway is defending this law as a means of attracting conservative voters.  As Scott Lasley noted in the Louisville Courier-Journal:

“The reality of the situation is that for most attorneys general that would be the end of their political careers. It’s just the reality of the situation, given the political environment you’re operating in.”

Conway’s opponent in the Democratic primary is Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo.  I will request his position on this issue.

Conway claims that the law is simply an “acknowledgement of religion.” But American Atheists legal director Edwin Kagin said the appeal is a waste of taxpayers’ money:

“It’s disappointing the attorney general would want to protect a clearly unconstitutional law that attempts to establish a religion in Kentucky.”

Conway announced the decision to appeal on the Friday before Labor Day. Fridays are known to be the slowest news days, especially Fridays before a holiday. This is probably another politically calculated move by Conway.

http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009909040363