By Ben Kleppinger
Gov. Ernie Fletcher proposed Wednesday for dismissal of the lawsuit filed against him in November by Attorney General Greg Stumbo.Stumbo sued Fletcher over appointments the governor made to the boards of regents at Eastern and other state universities and the boards of trustees at the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. Stumbo said Fletcher had appointed more republicans than democrats to the university boards, violating a law requiring the boards to match the percentages of Kentuckians registered as republicans or democrats.
In a reply to Fletcher’s file for dismissal, Stumbo said 56.9 percent of Kentuckian voters are registered democrats, 36.6 percent are registered republicans and 6.5 percent are registered as independents or with another party.
In his reply, Stumbo said Fletcher appointed 50 members to state university boards, 33 of which were republican appointees, during his term in office.
A “Progress” reporter left several messages with Fletcher’s office asking for comment, but no one returned the calls.
When asked whether he thought Fletcher would be successful in dismissing the suit, Corey Bellamy, communications director for the attorney general’s office, said “That’s the court’s decision.”
According to Stumbo’s reply to the file for dismissal, Fletcher said “numerous unidentified members of various university boards” are “indispensable parties” to the lawsuit.
In his reply, Stumbo said because the lawsuit only concerned the scope of Fletcher’s power as governor, the university board members did not need to be parties to the lawsuit.
Fletcher also argued the case should be dismissed because the court had no authority to decide a “political question,” according to Stumbo’s reply.
Stumbo said the lawsuit is a “bona fide controversy,” and should not be dismissed because the governor “denominates it as political.”
Stumbo said the court should make a “declaratory judgment.requiring the governor to follow the law regarding proportional representation on university boards,” rather than dismiss the case.
In his reply, Stumbo said, “To allow the governor alone to decide whether his actions are constitutional . is literally unthinkable.”
Eastern President Doug Whitlock said the lawsuit is something that affects Eastern, but declined to comment on the ongoing legal issue.