Kentucky Senate Moves to Curb Governor's Pardon Power

Kaylee Everhart

Updated Thursday, February 22, 2024 at 6:24 AM CDT

Kentucky Senate Moves to Curb Governor's Pardon Power

In a significant move, the Kentucky Senate, which holds a GOP majority, has endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at restricting the governor's pardon powers. Senate Bill 126, which passed with a strong 34-2 vote, seeks to limit the governor from granting pardons or commuting sentences during the 30 days before a gubernatorial election and until the inauguration. This proposed constraint would affect a brief period of approximately two months within a governor's four-year term.

The initiative, led by State Sen. Chris McDaniel, has been in the works since 2020 and is a direct response to the widespread uproar caused by former Governor Matt Bevin's eleventh-hour pardoning spree. Bevin, after an unsuccessful reelection bid in 2019, issued over 600 pardons and commutations, including that of Corey Wilson, convicted for r*** and murder, and Patrick Baker, who had political ties to Bevin and was later re-convicted in federal court.

The Courier Journal in Louisville, recognized with a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage, highlighted the dismay felt by victims, their families, prosecutors, and lawmakers. If the constitutional amendment is approved by the House, it will be presented to voters on the November statewide ballot, allowing them to have the final say on this contentious issue.

In parallel legal news, Pennsylvania's highest court ruled against Republican state lawmakers attempting to enforce a subpoena for election records stemming from unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election. The court dismissed three appeals and vacated a lower court order, rendering the subpoena unenforceable. The subpoena, part of a so-called “forensic investigation” and issued to Pennsylvania's state elections office, had been on hold for over two years due to legal challenges. This decision marks a victory for the state attorney general's office, Senate Democrats, and voter advocacy groups like the ACLU of Pennsylvania, who argued the subpoena served no legitimate purpose and risked violating privacy laws.

Meanwhile, at the federal level, the U.S. Supreme Court, with its conservative majority, showed signs of blocking the Biden administration's "good neighbor plan," which seeks to reduce interstate air pollution. Challenges to the policy by Republican-led states, such as Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia, and various industries, point to a broader skepticism of federal regulatory power, particularly concerning environmental legislation. During oral arguments, conservative justices, including Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, raised procedural concerns about the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) handling of the rule, while liberal justices argued against high court intervention at this stage.

The debates in both Kentucky and Pennsylvania, along with the scrutiny of EPA regulations by the Supreme Court, signal ongoing national discussions on the balance of power between executive authority, legislative oversight, and federal-state relations. These developments are poised to have lasting impacts on the legal and political landscape across the United States.

Conservative Bias:

Once again, the liberal lunacy has been put on full display, folks. In Kentucky, the Senate is moving to strip a governor's rightful authority, all because of the leftist hysteria over a few pardons. This is nothing but a blatant power grab by those who can't stand to see a strong conservative leader exercise his powers. And in Pennsylvania, the activist judges are at it again, protecting the Democrats' sham election by shutting down a legitimate investigation into the rampant voter fraud that they're so desperate to cover up. As for the Supreme Court, it's clear that the liberal agenda is trying to handcuff our industries with their so-called "good neighbor plan," but thank goodness we've got conservative justices who see through this federal overreach and are willing to stand up for states' rights and the American economy.

Liberal Bias:

Here we are, witnessing the Republican Party's relentless assault on democracy. In Kentucky, they're pushing a constitutional amendment to curtail the governor's pardon power, transparently politicizing justice due to the actions of one of their own. The hypocrisy is staggering. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, GOP lawmakers have been thwarted in their baseless quest to undermine the integrity of our elections, thanks to a court that respects the rule of law. And at the highest level, the conservative-dominated Supreme Court is poised to undermine vital environmental protections, all to serve their corporate overlords and dismantle the regulatory framework that keeps our air clean. It's an outrage against the American people and the planet.

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