Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin called the judge who made a ruling on a controversial reform bill “an embarrassment to Kentucky” during an interview Thursday in Washington, D.C., with Gray DC.
He also took aim at Attorney General Andy Beshear, who filed the suit to block the pension reform bill passed by the General Assembly.
Judge Phillip J. Shepherd filed an order Wednesday, ruling Senate Bill 151 was unconstitutional. The ruling voids the bill, restoring retirement benefits to thousands of teachers, police officers, and other public employees.
"I think probably the only person in the legal arena in Kentucky who's less competent than our attorney general is Phil Shepherd," Bevin said. "He is absolutely disregarding the rule of law. He's making up policy from the bench."
Bevin said the judge failed to rule if the bill violates the inviolable contract. "Supposedly it violated that contract. It doesn't and he (Shepherd) knows it doesn't so he didn't rule on that.
"He (Shepherd) made up his own reasoning which wasn't even part of the suit. He is a participant from the bench. It's an embarrassment. He's an embarrassment to Kentucky. Phil Shepherd is a stain on the legal system of Kentucky. He'll be overturned. He will be when an actual group of lawyers and judges handle this at a higher level. The judges that will follow the law will sustain what we have done."
The governor said the legal battle adds time to the process and “it’s a shame.”
Bevin added: "The reality is it hurts Kentucky. We have the worst-funded pension system in America and Phil Shepherd has now basically stuck it right in the eye of our retirees and said, 'I don't care if you get a paycheck. I don't care if we do anything. If the money runs out, good luck to you.' Shame on him for that."
Bevin was in Washington attending a Commerce Department foreign investment summit and was one of eight governors who met at the White House for a working lunch with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.