Alaska Supreme Court decides, and gerrymanders for Democrats

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The Alaska Supreme Court on Friday issued a 144-page explanation for its 2022 ruling, which declared that the newly drawn political boundaries in Alaska were politically gerrymandered by the Alaska Redistricting Board in favor of a particular party.

The court emphasized that such partisan gerrymandering goes against the equal protection clause of the Alaska Constitution.

However, the decision has effectively made the court the new redistricting board, as it now has granted itself the authority to be the final arbiter on what can be gerrymandered. There is little need for a redistricting board in the future, since every decision will be argued through the lens of partisan gerrymandering.

One concern raised by critics is that the justices, who are appointed through a highly partisan process and are associated with the liberal Alaska Bar Association, now have an excessive amount of power in the redistricting process.

The court’s previous denial of the Redistricting Board’s plan to grant Eagle River two Senate seats, resulting in a temporary map with only one Senate seat for Eagle River, has been a point of contention. The court, in fact, sided with Democrat partisans in most instances where there was debate.

The consequences of the Supreme Court gerrymandering can be seen in the election results. Alaska is a state where Republicans vastly outnumber Democrats (141,000 to 74,000), and in the statewide election Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a conservative candidate, won handily in 2022, with over 51% of the vote. President Donald Trump also won easily statewide in 2020.

But in 2022, the Supreme Court’s redistricting maps resulted in a disproportionate Democrat Party representation in the House, with 21 Republicans and 16 Democrats elected, and a narrow balance in the Senate, with an 11-9 split between Republicans and Democrats — just one senator away from a 50-50 split.

Adding to the controversy, two of the five justices who made the decision are not subject to retention by the public as they are technically retired due to age but are allowed to serve anyway. Critics argue that this goes against the constitutional intent on age limits and that the justices are setting their own rules and serving past the constitutional limit.

In response to the court’s ruling, the Alaska Redistricting Board has been given 90 days to appear in Superior Court to defend its rejected redistricting map. If the board fails to do so, the Supreme Court will declare its own gerrymandered map as the law of the land.

The issue of redistricting and the role of the Alaska Supreme Court in the process continue to be contentious and raise concerns about fairness and impartiality.

The entire ruling follows:

37 COMMENTS

  1. A corrupt Democrat run court stacks the decks for Democrats? Really?

    I’m shocked, just shocked.

    I do take issue with the claims the Cowardly Lion is a conservative and Republicans outnumber Democrats. The reality on the ground says strongly otherwise.

    • The Republicans in Alaska are definitely more left-wing than other West Coast states it seems. Small town folk are suppose to be more religious, conservative. It feels just the opposite up here.

  2. We will never fix anything as long as the senate Republicans (Rino’s) remain in office and screwing the state. The weak GOP leadership won’t expell these corrupt rino’s.

  3. Aren’t the lefties always screaming ‘elections have consequences)? Well, more republicans than democrats seem to lead to elected republicans having more power to redistrict than democrats do. Simple math.

  4. I’d say vote those three retired Judges out of office at the next election. But wait! They are not on the ballot because they retired 10 or so years ago. How is it that they can make these important decisions and not be held accountable to the voters?
    Well it’s simple. The Alaska Supreme Court, as a separate branch of the govt can make it own rules and neither the legislative or executive branch can do anything about it. So it passed rules that allow judges who are many years past their mandatory retirement make decisions and not be worried about being voted out of office. Only current sitting judges ( not retired ) are up for elections.
    Talk about the fox being in charge of the chicken coop.
    This is just another classic example of why we need to change the way judges are selected. Let the people have the biggest say so on who gets appointed.

    • Welcome to the system Andrew Jackson warned us about.
      You might not be up to speed, but every legal decision, every financial decision, every cultural decision, is made behind the curtain by a tiny fraction of the population with zero input from the electorate.
      Against illegal immigration? Against mass migration? Against deficit spending? Against felony charged persons being released with no bail? Against hundreds of billions of dollars being sent to Ukraine?
      Sorry, make your own tiny clique that funds election campaigns for literally everyone at the decision making level.

    • Here’s the logic from liberal CNN:

      Hackers find voting machines used throughout the US are vulnerable to attack

      By Kevin Collier, CNN
      Published 7:26 PM EDT, Thu September 26, 2019

      Voting machines were turned inside out as hackers demonstrated how easy it could be to disrupt democracy.
      CNN

      For the third straight year, elite hackers from around the world who spent a long weekend hacking into voting equipment have released a report detailing vulnerabilities in machines still in use across the country.

      Each of the more than 100 machines the researchers looked at were vulnerable to at least some kind of attack, said Georgetown professor Matt Blaze, one of the Def Con Voting Village’s organizers.

      ‘https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/26/politics/hackers-voting-machines/index.html

  5. It sounds like the 2 justices that are there beyond their constitutional limits are in violation of the Constitution of Alaska. This would seem to me that any decision rendered by them would be moot and not enforceable. Further, what is the mechanism used to remove these 2 individuals from the Supreme Court?

    • “It sounds like”? The constitution is easily accessed online. Here’s the text of the relevant passage, Article IV, § 11:

      Justices and judges shall be retired at the age of seventy except as provided in this article. The basis and amount of retirement pay shall be prescribed by law. Retired judges shall render no further service on the bench except for special assignments as provided by court rule.

      The last part is the most pertinent, namely “court rule”. See § 15 for the rule-making authority. It should be noted that the legislature is provided veto power over this authority. Barring any actual exercise of that veto, we see an example of the Supreme Court and court administration being allowed to run roughshod, as is usually the case.

      I found all this talk to the effect of “two rogue justices” curious considering that neither the story nor any of the comments named the justices in question. I had to download the order to see for myself. Here’s what I found:

      Before: Winfree, Chief Justice, Borghesan and Henderson, Justices, and Matthews and Eastaugh, Senior Justices.* [Maassen and Carney, Justices, not participating.]

      I assume we’re referring to “Senior Justices” Eastaugh (age 79) and Matthews (age 84). I say “assume” because Winfree turned 70 about two or three months ago and retired from the court, with Maassen replacing him as chief justice. That doesn’t explain his participation in a case stretching beyond his retirement date, while two younger justices still remaining on the court did not participate. Anyway, it’s hardly a secret that Matthews and Walter Carpeneti never really retired and continued to render service to the court. Matthews was originally appointed to the court 45 years ago. He couldn’t find a retirement hobby in all that time?

  6. Too bad that John Binkley isn’t the chief justice on the Alaska supreme court. He did a pretty fair job running the redistricting board.

  7. haha, democracy is great huh folks. I prefer freedom but hey that’s just me. dont matter who you vote for in the end normal people are always screwed by the political class.

  8. Democrats have established unbreakable “dominion” in Alaska, both in the courts, in the legislature, and in our voting machines. There really isn’t any point fighting it. We need to infiltrate organizations like the bar association and take them down from within.

  9. Democrat districts are over represented and Republican districts are under represented. When the boundaries are drawn the Democrat districts have the least number of residents allowed by law while the Republican districts have the most residents allowed by law. This leads to far more Democrat legislators than there would be otherwise.

  10. I am shocked, shocked, that the judiciary is exceeding its authority! Gerrymandering by the courts? Small potatoes compared to unilaterally amending the constitution (1997 Valley Hosp. case), the 2001 Sen-Tan decision, which seized the power of the purse, and the 2019 ACLU v. Dunleavy, which seized the power of overriding the governor’s veto from the legislature. All impeachable offenses. But all these cases had something to do with abortion, so the legislature did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about it. Next stop: court ordered taxation.

  11. its time to quit talking about it. the republicans in the senate who wont take care of these problems need to be identified then baraged with letters also identify their districts so their constituent’s
    will be told whats going on. i will start with saying in our district is bert stedman. if you follow him hes always on the dem side . he was against any reform of voting, we gave him a majority in the senate and he went with the democrats, he always blames dunleavy for everything, he only wants a 1300 pfd, he does not want to touch the way judges are picked etc mike svenson

  12. Our state constitution is awful. It denies us our mineral rights. It establishes a right to abort babies. It hamstrings the governor’s ability to appoint judges. Every ten years, outside liberals pour money into local advertising to make sure our broken constitution remains broken.

    • I wouldn’t disagree with you on your other points but the state Constitution doesn’t establish a right to abort babies.

      That was fabricated by the court just as seven of nine men on the Supreme Court imagined there was a right to abort babies in their Roe v Wade decision in 1973.

      Sterilizing people against their will (which had largely been done to black people) was falling out of favor and states had been passing laws against it. Justice RBG said that she was under the impression that when Roe was passed, it was to get rid of “populations that we don’t want too many of”.

      Planned Parenthood has been given nonprofit status, receives a large influx of public dollars and places the majority of their abortion centers near minority neighborhoods. This agenda is in keeping with their racist founder, Margaret Sanger’s goal in speaking to the KKK women, starting “The Negro Project” and calling people she disliked “human weeds”.

      The Alaskan “elites” appear to have the same eugenic agenda. Each time I’ve found statistics, the state of Alaska paid to kill a higher percentage of black and an especially high percentage of native babies more than white ones according to their respective numbers in our population.

      I spent a lot of time at abortion clinics offering help to women going in and a large number of native girls came by cab straight from the airport. One gal said she was sent in to get her periods started again but they didn’t tell her that she was pregnant or that they were sending her for an abortion. This is government sponsored genocide.

      There is no right to kill babies in the Alaska constitution, yet judges have fabricated one.

    • I wouldn’t disagree with you on your other points but the state Constitution doesn’t establish a right to abort babies. That was fabricated by the court just as seven of nine men on the Supreme Court imagined there was a right to abort babies in their Roe v Wade decision in 1973. Sterilizing people against their will (which had largely been done to black people) was falling out of favor and states had been passing laws against it. Justice RBG said that she was under the impression that when Roe was passed, it was to get rid of “populations that we don’t want too many of”. Planned Parenthood has been given nonprofit status, receives a large influx of public dollars and places the majority of their abortion centers near minority neighborhoods. This agenda is in keeping with their racist founder, Margaret Sanger’s goal in speaking to the KKK women, starting “The Negro Project” and calling people she disliked “human weeds”.

      The Alaskan “elites” appear to have the same eugenic agenda. Each time I’ve found statistics, the state of Alaska paid to kill a higher percentage of black and an especially high percentage of native babies more than white ones according to their respective numbers in our population. I spent a lot of time at abortion clinics offering help to women going in and a large number of native girls came by cab straight from the airport. One gal said she was sent in to get her periods started again but they didn’t tell her that she was pregnant or that they were sending her for an abortion. This is government sponsored genocide.

      There is no right to kill babies in the Alaska constitution, yet judges have fabricated one.

  13. Suzanne forgets to mention the 259,000 voters who register undeclared and 80,900 voters who register as non-partisan.

    • Cherish, Thank you for the comment. I did not forget to mention them. They split out about at the same ratio as those who are registered as R and D. And I did not mention Libertarian and Alaskan Independence Party, either, although we know those voters align with Rs much of the time, as do Constitution and Veterans Party members. Also, thousands of the undeclared are PFD automatic registrants who don’t vote. – sd

      • Libertarian and AK independence party don’t vastly outnumber the number of people who are registered to a party. Undeclared/ non-partisan do, and this is important because AK is an independent state that has more independent voters than party line voters (see Dunleavy/Peltola.) Not sure why their split would matter, you’d have to do polling on both groups to see which way they tend to lean. It’s not like undeclared leans one way and non partisan leans another. They are also important to mention because without talking about these voters, you are looking at less than half of Alaska’s voters & really can’t come to the conclusions that you did in the article. I am interested to know though – if you don’t check a box on the auto PFD voter registration it assigns you undeclared and not non-partisan? Is that correct?

        • Thank you for your comment. I apologize if I was not clear. No, there is not a dominant Libertarians and Alaskan Independence Party faction. Those voters, however, typically break for conservative candidate. And there’s a lot of polling to support that, as well as polling that shows that nonpartisans typically vote with Democrats in larger numbers and undeclared break same as the 74-141, D-R voters. Lots and lots of polling has been done, so I’m not going to debate you here not this point. To your question, if someone doesn’t opt out of registering with Permanent Fund and gets registered by default, they become an undeclared. – sd

  14. This-redistricting- is why i doubt Eagleriver could keep itself a conservative town after eaglexit. For a short time E.R conservatives would enjoy their autonomy until E.R democrats get cozy within their new political boundry lines then neighborhoods would be ruled over by democrat or an
    ally.

  15. So, it hopefully does not come as a Shock to anyone that the Alaska State Supremes are nothing more than a gaggle of left, far left democrats all supported by the similar persuasion Alaska Bar Association. That group of scallywags
    Alaska voters screwed themselves long ago with the cancer known as an Alaskan Independent and/or a democrat. We are in the metastasized state now. No coming back

  16. Does it matter much anymore, when so many supposedly “republican” legislators cross over and ally themselves with the democrats as soon as they get to Juneau?

  17. We think we are a conservative state. The liberals have stealthily ruled us for years and will continue to do so until the majority of Alaskans become aware of the situation and take action to change it.

    • Exactly!

      I moved up here 6 years ago, fleeing California for greener pastures. Alaska seemed like a swell enough place from my very conservative point of view. Oh how wrong I was.

  18. Looks like the last nail in the coffin of Alaska’s election integrity…
    .
    Talk about a coup, under color of law, did unelected Supreme Court judges just seize control of Alaska’s election process from the elected Executive Branch?
    .
    Are Alaskan voters to assume there’s nothing they can do about it because: (a) no Alaskan lawyer would dare challenge those who operate Alaska’s judicial system, one-third of Alaska’s state government, as if it were their private fiefdom, (b) no Alaskan legislator would dare challenge those who operate Alaska’s judicial system, one-third of Alaska’s state government, as if it were their private fiefdom?
    .
    Alaska’s State Republican Party whose major accomplishments lately seem to be moving money and placating Democrats isn’t an option either… even though it’s their Party getting politically castrated.
    .
    Maybe it’s down to civil-rights or color-of-law complaints brought by a group like Center for American Liberty in federal court.
    .
    That would be ‘https://libertycenter.org/our-team/harmeet/

  19. Sigh. If you can’t win, undermine the system!

    This is why Republicans in Alaska are on the ropes, the “thought leaders” scare conservative voters away from the polls when whining sour grapes about how it couldn’t possibly be that conservatives keep putting forward joke candidates like Rachel Ries (who dropped a very winnable conservative south anchorage assembly district to a reasonable enough centrist-liberal).

    The result? Sane conservatives who’d stand a chance either don’t run or have been getting primaried by crazy, which loses in the general election. Not every time, or the strategy might’ve been shifted sooner, but often enough to lose legislative majorities R’s should have had. When the Bronson’s/religious conservatives DO win, they just poison the well and gift liberals 2 seats for each one they snag.

    Here’s hoping the GOP establishment can get it’s head out of its butt and push back on some of the religious fundamentalist “He’s a man, so is [up] here; you, a woman are [down] here” or what was Spencer Moore’s line? Something along the lines of “yeah, [my wife] does have to obey me”? Turns out, voters (even those who believe in limiting the role and reach of government) aren’t very enthusiastic about those candidates…

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