An attorney for Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear inadvertently makes the case for getting state government under control via the courts in a legal brief filed quietly on Friday.
"Only the Legislature has the authority to decide what constitutes a valid public purpose, and its determination cannot be disturbed as long as the basis is reasonable," said Beshear attorney John C. Enochs. (emphasis added)
This came in Franklin Circuit Court case 13-CI-785 Adams v. Commonwealth, in which the plaintiff seeks a determination that Kentucky's economic development subsidies and tax breaks violate Section 177. Click here and decide for yourself if arbitrarily giving deals or donations to individual companies comports with the plain language of our founding document.
Mr. Enochs also claims this issue was already decided when the Kentucky Supreme Court upheld in 1987 a statute enacted in 1986 to allow such donations to be given to Toyota Motor Manufacturing. This miscarriage of justice, as well-intentioned as it was, opened the flood gates to many more such well-intentioned but far less beneficial deals.
That 1987 court case was based on theory. The one in 2013 will be based on a quarter century of facts. Those facts will not be kind to those who want to argue that the basis for violating the Constitution in 1986 was reasonable.
Rooting out invalid "public purposes" in Kentucky law will not be a comfortable process for the bureaucrats and politicians who have built great fortunes subverting constitutional principles in the name of the public "good."
The evidence will convict them.