FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Speaking to a room full of attorneys, Gov. Matt Bevin said the state should reconsider how individuals become judges.
“We have a remarkable number of people who have no businesses being judges,” said Bevin, who was speaking Thursday to the Federalist Society in the House Chamber. “They don’t have the competence to even be a private practice attorney who can bill at a rate that people would pay them. I’m not kidding.”
Bevin said the judges are often people who have not been able to cut it in private practice.
“But somehow (they) have managed to get them elected to a position where they now have the responsibility to jack people around in ways that are not even remotely connected to the law they are intended to uphold,” he said. “It creates pandemonium for a whole lot of people and, sadly, even runs the risk creating new precedent that’s just squirrely.”
He said candidates should first have to pass a competency test before they could become a judge.
Bevin also took some questions from attorneys, including one aimed at Democratic rival Attorney General Andy Beshear, a frequent sparring partner of the Republican governor.
When asked if he had given thought to a Constitutional Amendment making the attorney general an appointed, rather than elected, position, Bevin said, “Oh, yeah.”
Several issues between Bevin and Beshear have ended up in court. Two days ago, Beshear called a press conference to say that Bevin’s plan to cut the budgets of state agencies was illegal.
“Should you have an attorney general and a governor that are on different sides of an issue?” he said. “It would seem unproductive at best, and arguably silly. It’s something worthy of consideration.”
Bevin also appeared to endorse term limits for members of the General Assembly.
“I’m a great believer in people being citizen-legislators for a finite period of time. That’s a whole other topic we’ll get to at another point.”