KY AG Takes Case To Supreme Court, Will Argue AGs Have Power to Defend Pro-Life Laws in Court


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is preparing to take a major pro-life case to the U.S. Supreme Court and it could set a national precedent.

Cameron, who will argue the case before the Supreme Court on October 12th, is defending Kentucky’s laws that recognize the human classification of the unborn is an important one.


Kentucky Democrat Gov. Andy Beshear has been unwilling to defend the law in court.

Cameron is taking the case to the Supreme Court and will argue that a state Attorney General has the legal right to argue on behalf of the state’s laws in court without support from the governor.

Cameron said in a statement:


Three years ago, the General Assembly passed HB 454 in recognition of the humanity of the unborn, and we’ve proudly defended it since taking office. Kentuckians elected me to represent the Commonwealth’s interests in court, and next week we look forward to arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court for our ability to continue defending this important pro-life law.

The original case focused on HB 454, also known as the Human Rights of Unborn Children Act, which would “prohibit an abortion on a pregnant woman that will result in the bodily dismemberment, crushing, or human vivisection of the unborn child when the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child is 11 weeks or greater, except in the case of a medical emergency.”

Cameron’s office added:

In 2019, a federal judge struck down the law, and the case was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. After taking office in December 2019, Attorney General Cameron defended the law before the Sixth Circuit on behalf of newly elected Governor Andy Beshear, and the Sixth Circuit ruled against the law in a divided vote.


After Governor Beshear declined to continue defending House Bill 454, Attorney General Cameron filed a motion to intervene in the case. When the Sixth Circuit denied the motion, Attorney General Cameron asked the United States Supreme Court to hear the case.

The introduction to the case states:

This case began as a challenge to a Kentucky statute regulating abortion, but it is now a dispute about a State’s authority to ensure that its laws are fully defended through this Court. In our dual-sovereign system of government, the States have a substantial interest in enforcing their laws. In recognition of this fact, the States get to decide for themselves who defends their laws in court.


Under Kentucky law, Attorney General Daniel Cameron has not only the power but also the duty, to defend Kentucky’s laws against legal challenge … And when another state official declines to appeal an adverse ruling, Kentucky law empowers the Attorney General to step in and continue defending state law on appeal.

Kentucky GOP Senate President Robert Stivers fully supports Cameron’s efforts.


“It is the right of the members of the General Assembly, as the policymakers, to choose who we want to defend in court the laws we pass,” Stivers said.

“The Constitution grants the legislature the authority to prescribe by law what the policies of this state are, and we have determined that the Attorney General should serve in that role. The issue in HB 454, the rights of the unborn, is important to us as legislators, and I thank General Cameron for representing the General Assembly in the United States Supreme Court,” he added.

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