LOUISVILLE, Ky. – On behalf of the Kentucky Resources Council, the Kentucky Equal Justice Center, and the ACLU of Kentucky, attorneys from the ACLU of Kentucky and the national ACLU’s State Supreme Court Initiative filed an amicus brief asking the Court to strike down Senate Bill 126, a “change of venue” law. Under SB 126, government officials sued for allegedly violating people’s constitutional rights can unilaterally force the transfer of the lawsuit to a randomly chosen circuit anywhere else in the state, which allows them to substantially increase the litigation costs of people—including Kentuckians with limited financial means—who allege violations of their constitutional rights.
The law, passed during the 2023 legislative session, makes it more difficult for Kentuckians to access the courts and pursue their rights.
“Senate Bill 126 affects Kentuckians’ free speech rights by targeting only those people who want to challenge the constitutionality of laws,” said Corey Shapiro, legal director for the ACLU of Kentucky. “There is already a crisis of access to justice in Kentucky, and SB 126 will only make it worse. This law unfairly allows state officials who have violated Kentuckians’ constitutional rights the opportunity to get a new judge in a different county without any justification by simply requesting a change of venue in a constitutional case.
The organizations represented in the filing often represent the legal interests of Kentuckians, and this law impacts their ability to do so.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky is freedom's watchdog, working daily in the courts, legislature and communities to defend individual rights and personal freedoms. For additional information, visit our website at: www.aclu-ky.org.