Lawyers for the Missouri Democratic Party are appealing a Cole County judge’s decision to dismiss their lawsuit against Governor Mike Parson (R) and Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe (R).

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem speaks in court in Jefferson City on July 5, 2018 (pool photo courtesy of “News-Tribune” photographer Mark Wilson)

The Democratic Party has requested that the Missouri Supreme Court hear the appeal.

The lawsuit alleged that the governor does not have authority to appoint a lieutenant governor.

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem dismissed the suit last week, ruling that the plaintiffs lack authority to try to remove the lieutenant governor by litigation.

Judge Beetem ruled that Governor Parson had authority to appoint Kehoe, under the Missouri Constitution.

The Missouri Democratic Party had asked Judge Beetem to issue a ruling which says a governor cannot appoint a lieutenant governor, when the lieutenant governor’s position is vacant.

Both sides presented their arguments in Cole County Circuit Court in Jefferson City, during a 55-minute hearing on July 5.

Missouri Democratic Party attorney Matthew Vianello, who filed the appeal this week, tells Missourinet he has 60 days to file opening briefs.

Cole County Judge Patricia Joyce administers the oath of office to Mike Kehoe as Lieutenant Governor on June 18, 2018 in Jefferson City(photo courtesy of Missouri Senate photographer Harrison Sweazea)

Vianello says he intends to file the briefs before the deadline.

Governor Parson has praised Judge Beetem’s ruling.

“We thought all along we had the ability to appoint the lieutenant governor, which we did,” Parson told Capitol reporters on July 11. “And I think that the courts upheld that today, which is what we expected them to do.”

Parson has also noted that former Democratic Governors Jay Nixon and Bob Holden say the governor has the authority to appoint.

Missouri First Assistant Attorney General D. John Sauer has said Governor Parson had clear authority under Article 4, Section 4 of the Missouri Constitution to appoint Kehoe.

“It is a valid appointment, there is no basis for the court to conclude otherwise,” Sauer said in court on July 5.

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