Thursday, June 2, 2016

Bevin's "Neutron Bomb"

Phil Shepherd is the honey badger of the Kentucky court system: if you are a rich asshole fucking over ordinary citizens, he does not care about you at all.

And now the Franklin Circuit Judge has the biggest rich asshole in the Bluegrass in his court taking a well-deserved smackdown.

A Kentucky judge compared one of Gov. Matt Bevin's executive orders to a neutron bomb Wednesday in a case that challenges the governor's ongoing purge of powerful state boards and commissions.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd said Bevin's executive order abolishing the Workers Compensation Nominating Commission and then re-creating it with new members "in many ways is kind of like a neutron bomb. It destroyed all the people but left the structure in place."

"It kind of boggles the mind what the potential would be for mischief if there is not some limiting principle," Shepherd said.

Kentucky's administrative law judges decide if and how much employers have to pay workers who were hurt on the job. These judges are appointed by the governor, but Kentucky law says the governor can only appoint a judge that has been nominated by the Workers Compensation Nominating Commission. Last month —with an unprecedented six vacancies to fill — Bevin abolished that commission, rewrote the law that governed it and then re-created it with new members, all by executive order.

Bevin has used the tactic with several boards and commissions, including the Kentucky Racing Commission and the Kentucky Horse Park Commission. But his order reorganizing the nominating commission is the first to be challenged in court. Two labor unions and four injured workers sued Bevin last week, fearing that his new commission would nominate judges more likely to side with employers at the expense of workers.

Last week, Shepherd ordered the nominating commission not to make any recommendations to Bevin until after the lawsuit was resolved. Wednesday, the two sides argued in court.
Judge Shepherd was re-elected without opposition in 2014.  He's up for re-election in 2022.  How much you wanna bet Bevin is already soliciting donations from his billionaire buddies for a super PAC to take Shepherd down?

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