The Latest: Chief justice won’t remove judge in pension case

June 6, 2018

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Latest on Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s effort to disqualify a state judge from ruling on a lawsuit challenging a recently enacted pension bill (all times local):

4:11 p.m.

Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. has denied a request by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin to disqualify a judge from ruling on a lawsuit challenging the legality of a bill that overhauls the state’s pension system.

Bevin signed a law earlier this year that would move all new teachers into a hybrid pension system. It would also change how current teachers use sick days to calculate their retirement benefits. Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear sued to block the law, saying it was unconstitutional.

Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd has the case. But Bevin’s attorneys asked him to recuse himself because he belongs to one of the state’s retirement systems. When Shepherd refused, Bevin’s lawyers asked Minton to replace him.

Minton denied that request Wednesday. He said Bevin has not shown Shepherd should be disqualified.


9:55 a.m.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin wants a judge he calls an “incompetent hack” removed from a case challenging the state’s new pension law.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the Republican governor wants a special judge to hear Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear’s legal challenge to the law. Bevin’s lawyers asked the Kentucky Supreme Court’s chief justice to remove Franklin Circuit Court Judge Philip Shepherd, saying his future eligibility to receive a judicial pension represents a conflict of interest.

The filing argues that judges who took office after Jan. 1, 2014, don’t have traditional defined-benefits pensions and wouldn’t have the same conflict.

Shepherd previously rejected Bevin’s request to disqualify himself, saying the governor’s reasoning stretches the concept of conflict of interest.

Beshear said in a statement that Beshear was trying to prevent a hearing.


Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com

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