Dunleavy appoints three new judges to Superior Court


Gov. Mike Dunleavy has announced three appointees to the Alaska Superior Court. 

The new judges came from the short list of lawyers nominated by the Alaska Judicial Council. The governor, by law, must choose from a small list given to him by the council.

Ian Wheeles was appointed to Anchorage Superior Court. An Alaska resident for nearly 40 years, he has practiced law for 14 years. He is a graduate of the University of Idaho College of Law and is in private practice in Anchorage.

Kirk Schwalm was appointed to the Fairbanks Superior Court. He has been an Alaska resident for 46 years and practiced law for more than a decade. He graduated from Lewis and Clark Law School in 2010 and is in private practice in Fairbanks.

Katherine Lybrand was appointed to the Ketchikan Superior Court. She has been an Alaska resident for more than 18 years and practiced law for nearly a decade. She is a graduate of University of Maine School of Law in 2013 and is an assistant attorney general in Juneau.


  1. Gov. Mike Dunleavy has announced three appointees to the Alaska Superior Court …
    … selected for him by the hard left, hyper-partisan Alaska Judicial Council.

    This intolerable situation, of the capture of Alaska’s judiciary by the partisans and extremists of the radical left, is more than enough reason, by itself, to call for a Constitutional Convention to remedy it.

  2. It’s time to pry the death grip that the Judicial Council has on the appointment of judges for the Alaska Court system. They have devolved into a system of liberals appointing liberals. The people of Alaska are stuck with an appellate court system the fosters judges too liberal for the people they serve. Instead, let the duly elected governor exercise his or her authority to appoint judges who reflect their judicial philosophy. The governor can suffer the political consequences for idiotic judgements. Our Governor’s are fully capable of selecting judges on their own. In the mean time, I’ll continue to vote no on any judge up for re-election.

  3. Let’s look at the bright side: At least none of these folks are imperious pukes from Harvard, Yale or Georgetown. Looks to me like the Governor may have tried hard to find the “least worst” applicants.

  4. Kirk Schwalm is far from being labeled a ‘liberal” or ‘far leftist”. Commenters should just do a little research, before labeling people they do not even know. I do agree the appointment of judges does need reform.

  5. Imagine if the president of the U.S. was limited to selecting Supreme Court nominees chosen by the NRA. That’s the same situation we have here in AK. There is no balance. No hope correcting ideological overswings. It’s all liberal all the time. The system is rigged to guarantee the Alaska courts will be occupied only by leftists.

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