First Amendment

Cease-and-desist letter on Ky. AG's letterhead spurs suit by parenting columnist

The Kentucky Attorney General’s office says one of its lawyers “inadvertently” used its official letterhead when he sent a cease-and-desist letter to a nationally syndicated parenting columnist.

The letter by assistant attorney general Brian Judy, dispatched to John Rosemond, said the columnist should stop calling himself a psychologist and engaging in the “practice of psychology” in Kentucky without a state license, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. Rosemond sued in federal court on July 16, claiming a free speech violation. A federal judge refused Rosemond’s request for a temporary restraining order last Thursday, the Herald-Leader says in prior coverage.

According to the Herald-Leader, Rosemond endorses “a traditional, anti-coddling approach to parenting.” He identifies himself as a “family psychologist” in his columns.

Attorney General Jack Conway said in a statement on Monday said he did not authorize the letter, and lawyers in his office who represent state boards should use board letterhead. Judy was representing Kentucky’s Board of Examiners of Psychology; he said in his letter that the attorney general’s office represents the board.

Rosemond is a licensed psychologist in his home state of North Carolina, according to previous coverage by the Associated Press. He has a master’s degree in psychology and has written 11 books. He is represented by the Institute for Justice.

Eva Markham, chair of Kentucky’s psychology board, told AP that Rosemond’s master’s degree would be insufficient in Kentucky, and the concern is about his title. “We don’t care what he writes,” she said. “I see advice columns that are horrendously bad … but we can’t do a thing about it.”

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