By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT —A judge granted Senate President Robert Stivers’ request Friday to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the state Senate’s failure to vote on a reappointment to the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip J. Shepherd said in a four-page order that the court lacks the constitutional authority to direct the Senate on how to consider such nominations and nothing in the lawsuit filed by Campbellsville doctor Jim Angel supports any allegations that the Senate failed to follow its own rules.
Neither Angel nor his attorney, C. Thomas Hectus of Louisville, was immediately available to comment on Shepherd’s order.
Angel was appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear to serve a fourth term on the nine-member commission that oversees the state Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
But the Senate this year did not take up the appointment for confirmation before lawmakers adjourned April 15.
Angel, in a lawsuit, claimed that Stivers, R-Manchester, was the reason the Senate did not vote on his confirmation.
Stivers’ spokeswoman, Jodi Whitaker, said without elaboration in April that Angel went through the same vetting process as all of the other gubernatorial appointees and the decision was made not to confirm his appointment.
Angel presented to the Senate the signatures of more than 1,850 adults in his district who wanted him on the commission, but they had no impact.
His district consisted of Adair, Barren, Cumberland, Edmonson, Grayson, Green, Hardin, Hart, LaRue, Marion, Metcalfe, Monroe, Nelson, Taylor and Washington counties.
Judge Shepherd said Angel’s argument that all nominations made by the governor “shall be submitted for confirmation somehow trumps the operation of the rules of the Senate has no support in statute or case law.”
Shepherd said if Angel had the support of a majority of the senators, a petition to get out of committee the resolution dealing with his reappointment could have been brought to the floor of the Senate for a vote by all senators.