- Associated Press - Thursday, August 18, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky’s Republican governor says the ousted board of trustees at the University of Louisville should continue to meet despite a judge temporarily stripping them of their authority, a move the attorney general said “encouraged the defiance of a court order.”

Gov. Matt Bevin abolished the University of Louisville board of trustees in June. He replaced them a few weeks later with a new board, which then accepted the resignation of longtime president James Ramsey.

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear sued, saying Bevin’s order was illegal. Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd temporarily blocked Bevin’s order, stripping the new board of its authority and putting the university back under the governance of the former trustees.

Wednesday, WHAS radio host Terry Meiners asked Bevin if he thought the board he appointed should continue to meet.

“The new board is not enjoined. The new board has authority to meet and they should do exactly that,” Bevin said. “Judge Shepherd overstepped himself, and it’s why, if you’ve seen, he’s been trying to walk this back, he literally is trying to walk it back and ask me to work out a negotiation.”

Shepherd’s order, issued last month, says the authority of board Bevin appointed is “temporarily enjoined” pending a final decision in the case. In a hearing after the ruling, Shepherd said his order was not a criticism of the governor. He also said he wanted to hear more about whether the board Bevin replaced complies with state law mandating proportional representation from political parties and racial minorities.

In a news release, Beshear said Bevin’s comments encouraged defiance of a court order.

“This is a serious action that should concern all Kentuckians. We live in a country governed by the rule of the law, which must be respected,” Beshear said.

Bevin spokeswoman Amanda Stamper said Bevin “firmly believes the law should be followed,” but that Shepherd’s order “ignores the law by enjoining a legitimately appointed, very qualified board.” She said Bevin’s attorneys filed an appeal of Shepherd’s ruling and “will request a prompt hearing.”

The lawsuit is one of several pending between Bevin and Beshear. The attorney general has also sued Bevin over his abolishment of Kentucky Retirement Systems board of trustees and his decision to reduce the allotments to public colleges and universities without legislative approval.

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