A private Christian school and the Kentucky attorney general filed an emergency request with the Supreme Court this week, asking justices to rule on a recent executive order halting in-person classes at schools.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who will consider the filing, asked Gov. Andy Beshear to file a response by Friday.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Danville Christian School argued that private religious schools should be allowed to open because the "governor’s orders prohibit gathering for religious education while also failing to prohibit gathering for other secular activities."
"In Kentucky, one can catch a matinee at the movie theater, tour a distillery, work out at the gym, bet at a gambling parlor, shop, go to work, cheer on the Wildcats or the Cardinals, and attend a wedding," the lawsuit reads.
"A parent can send his or her child to daycare or preschool. And college students can attend classes. But all of Kentucky’s religious schools are shuttered.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sunday that Beshear's order to close schools can stand.
"While we all want to get our kids back to in-person instruction, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recognized that doing so now would endanger the health and lives of Kentucky children, educators, and families," he said in a statement Sunday.
"Almost every county is in the red zone, we have had nearly 10,000 students and staff in quarantine over the past two weeks, our hospitals are on the verge of being overwhelmed and we have lost nearly 1,900 fellow Kentuckians, including health care workers, a teacher, and a 15-year-old student."
Cameron argues that the governor's orders infringe on parents' constitutional rights.
“When you tell folks who send [students] to religious-affiliated schools, which is an act of worship within itself, that they cannot go to school, it infringes upon the First Amendment rights,” Cameron told Fox & Friends Monday.
“You have to have a delicate balance in terms of keeping people safe and respecting the constitutional rights of our citizens. What [Beshear] has done repeatedly is infringe upon the First Amendment free exercise of religion here in the commonwealth of Kentucky.”
Beshear, meanwhile, has argued that his orders treat all schools the same, so they should stand.
Kavanaugh can now act alone or refer the case to the full Supreme Court.