High Court Rules In Fox Dispute With State

by Rick Howlett on April 22, 2010

By Tony McVeigh/Kentucky Public Radio

The Kentucky Supreme Court has handed Virginia Fox, formerly of Kentucky Educational Television, a major victory in her legal battle with the state.

In July 2007, then-Gov. Ernie Fletcher appointed Virginia Fox to the Council on Postsecondary Education for a term expiring December 2012.

In 2008, the Kentucky Senate approved Fox’s appointment, but the House did not. By then, Steve Beshear was governor and his attorney informed Fox her seat was legally vacant and she was being replaced on the CPE by former Lexington Mayor Pam Miller.

Fox sued, saying the ultimate power to confirm appointees resides with the Senate. The trial court granted the governor’s motion to dismiss and the case immediately moved to the Supreme Court.

In a 5-2 decision, with Justices Cunningham and Shroder dissenting, the high court agrees with Fox. The court says Section 93 of the state constitution, as amended in 1992, clearly gives the Senate confirmation authority over appointees.

The high court did not reinstate Fox, but sent the case back to Franklin Circuit Court for further deliberations.

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