Kentucky gov plans to ignore law banning him from appointing Dem if McConnell steps down: report

Kentucky gov plans to ignore law banning him from appointing Dem if McConnell steps down: report

According to a report from the Washington Times, should Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) decide to step down due to health concerns, Kentucky's Democratic governor already has already made the constitutional case that he can pick a Democrat to fill the seat despite a law the state GOP majority passed in 2021.

With questions being raised about how long the senior Republican will remain in Congress after an incident last week where he stood stock-still and appeared unable to speak before reporters -- only to be led away by some of his GOP colleagues -- attention in Kentucky has turned to who will be his inevitable replacement.

As it stands now. McConnell's term does not expire until 2026 after winning re-election in 2020.

According to the Washington Times, in 2021 a GOP supermajority overrode Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear's veto of a bill that requires "the governor to file mid-term vacancies in the U.S. Senate from a list of three candidates chosen by the state party of the previous sitting senator."

As Michael Abate, a Louisville attorney who has assisted the Kentucky Democratic Party, explained, Beshear may ignore the law, appoint a Democrat, and challenge the Republican legislature to take him to court.

“I would imagine you would absolutely see a lawsuit on this," he stated.

He added, "Beshear either says, ‘Hey, Republican Party, thank you for your list, but I’m appointing whoever I want’ and then that immediately gets challenged in court, or you could see Beshear taking the route of filing a lawsuit. I mean, he’s got the guts to defy it.”

The Washington Times Kerry Picket reports, "In Kentucky, Mr. Beshear set the stage to challenge the 2021 law when he declared it unconstitutional and vetoed it. The legislature’s Republican supermajority overrode the veto. In a veto message, the governor cited the U.S. Constitution’s 17th Amendment passed in 1912, which states that the legislature 'may empower the executive' to make temporary appointments to fill a senate vacancy."

As Beshear wrote at the time, "The bill … upends a century of precedent by delegating the power to select the representative of all Kentuckians to an unelected, unaccountable committee of an organization that represents only a fraction of Kentuckians. The Seventeenth Amendment does not authorize legislatures to direct how the Governor makes an appointment to fill vacancies, and the legislature may not impose an additional qualification on who the Governor may appoint beyond the qualifications for a United States Senator set forth in the Constitution.”

You can read more here.

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