Lexington Attorney Breaks Down Supreme Court’s ACA Decision

Friday, June 26th, 2015

It’s been a momentous 48 hours for the country with two significant rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act and the rights of same-sex couples to marry.

We’ll have much more on these decisions tonight on the PBS programs NewsHour at 7 and Washington Week at 9. The panel on this week’s edition of Comment on Kentucky will explore the ramifications of both decisions for the commonwealth – especially the gay marriage ruling, which overturns the state’s ban on those unions.

Doug McSwain, an attorney with Wyatt, Tarrant, and Combs in Lexington, stopped by our studios yesterday afternoon for a brief conversation about the court’s decision to uphold Obamacare subsidies.

Local response to today’s marriage equality ruling has been swift from both sides. Gov. Steve Beshear, who appealed a federal judge’s ruling that Kentucky’s ban on gay marriages was unconstitutional, a stand that became part of the Supreme Court case, said today:

“Kentuckians, and indeed all Americans, deserved a final determination of what the law in this country would be, and that is the reason we pursued an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Today’s opinion finally provides that clarity. All Cabinets of the executive branch have been directed to immediately alter any policies necessary to implement the decision from the Supreme Court.”

Martin Cothran of The Family Foundation, an advocacy group that pushed the so-called Marriage Protection Amendment to Kentucky’s Constitution, said the Supreme Court had gone rogue.

“This has nothing to do with interpreting the Constitution; this has everything to do with an elite caste of judges who think they have the power to rewrite it. Judges are supposed to be impartial legal referees… In the name of ‘fairness’, liberals have politicized the judiciary and created an uneven playing field.”

Al Cross and the Counties to Watch on Primary Election Night

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

KET political analyst, University of Kentucky associate professor, and Louisville Courier-Journal columnist Al Cross has covered political campaigns in Kentucky for many years.

He’s also honed his skills at analyzing where he thinks a particular candidate will run ahead of the competition, when the votes from across the commonwealth’s two time zones will be reported, and how long election night programs, like the one airing Tuesday evening on KET, will have to stay on the air to broadcast all the victory speeches.

I asked Cross, the director of the UK Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, to join me on One to One to talk about the primary elections. You can watch that conversation Sunday at 1 p.m. on KET.

In an after-the-show segment, Cross gave me his best bet for counties to watch Tuesday night and where the Republican gubernatorial candidates will have to pick up votes if they expect to win the primary.

Let’s call it “Al’s County Scorecard” for predicting the winner of the primary.

Cross will join me and my colleague Renee Shaw for Tuesday’s coverage, which starts at 7 p.m. on KET and streams online at KET.org/live. We’ll also have comments from former Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Jennifer Moore and former Republican Party of Kentucky Chair Ellen Williams.

I hope you’ll join us too.

Wendell Ford in His Own Words

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

In 2006, Bill Goodman sat down with former Sen. Wendell Ford to record an interview for KET’s One to One. Ford had been retired from the U.S. Senate for just over seven years, yet he was still deeply interested in politics and the issues facing Kentucky and the nation. Here are a few quotes from their conversation.

On Political Campaigns
“There’s been a sea change since I first got into politics. It was more door to door, person to person, handshake to handshake when I first started… The need for money was not as evident as it is today.”

On Campaign Financing
“We go back to the First Amendment: you have the right to spend your own money and say whatever you want to say, and how can you limit that? It’s very difficult to do.”

On Political Partisanship
“We have to get away from [partisanship] because we’re not going very far and we’re not doing very well as a nation [as long] it’s my way or the highway. It just has to stop. Once the race is over, once the people say we want you to represent us, not just the Democrats or Republicans, but represent us as citizens of your districts, or your state, or this country. If we don’t get back to that, I think we have real problems.”

On Government Spending and Taxes
“The federal government is trying to cut back on everything, and if they can cut back on education, if they can cut back on all this, then that puts all the pressure on the states. So quit giving money back to the people that really don’t need it. If I’m making $10 – 15 million a year, and you give me a big tax cut, I really don’t need it…. Take that money and channel into the education of those young people that are probably going to work for that millionaire one of these days.”

On Expanded Gaming in Kentucky
“I hate to live on gambling, I really do, but we’re losing so much to [casinos] across the river…. So I think you’re going to have to give the choice to the people, and I think you’re going to have to [locate casinos at] more than racetracks… Racetracks can’t win unless they do that.”

On His Favorite Politicians
“[Former Kentucky Gov.] Bert Combs was one of the smartest fellows I’ve met in a long time. In the Senate, Sen. Robert Byrd from West Virginia is just as smart as he can be… He was the third senator for Kentucky when I was there, he really was helpful. Daniel Inouye from Hawaii: just a prince of a fellow and his word’s as good as gold…. Ted Stevens [Alaska Republican who served on the Senate Rules Committee with Ford] … We never had a cross word in all the 25 years I served there. He and I always worked things out… I’d walk across the street to find him right now.”

On His Future Aspirations
“I would like to live to be a great-grandfather. I want to live longer with my wife of 62 years… I want to go fishing a little bit, too.”

Watch the full conversation with Wendell Ford from 2006.

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