DECLINES TO APPOINT JUDGE
Gov. Michael Dunleavy filled four judgeships for Alaska Superior and District Courts in Utqiagvik, Kodiak, Anchorage, and Palmer.
But when it came to a second judge for the Palmer Superior Court, Dunleavy took a pass.
The Alaska Judicial Council had only given him three names for two seats in Palmer. Dunleavy thought that odd, since 11 people had applied for the Palmer Superior Court. With just three candidates for two positions, the Judicial Council was appearing to try to force the governor’s hand for this court, and it appeared to violate the spirit of the law.
The council had, after all, offered 8 names for the one Anchorage seat.
“Alaska’s constitutional judicial selection process is supposed to be merit and qualifications based. The list you provided me does not appear to uphold this important standard,” Dunleavy wrote in a letter to the Judicial Council.
“My authority to appoint members to the bench carries with it the obligation to exercise that authority thoughtfully and responsibly. My office has requested more information from the Council on candidates that were not recommended, including the Council’s reasoning for excluding some candidates,” Dunleavy wrote. “I would like an opportunity to review and consider the Council’s reasoning to determine whether additional qualified candidates could be nominated by the Council for this position.”
Dunleavy’s judicial appointments are:
John C. Cagle is appointed to the Palmer Superior Court. Cagle has been an Alaska resident for 8½ years and has practiced law for 14 years. He graduated from Gonzaga University School of Law in 2003 and is currently an assistant district attorney in Anchorage.
Nelson Traverso is appointed to the Utqiagvik Superior Court. Traverso has been an Alaska resident for 36 years and has practiced law for 35 years. He graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 1981 and is currently in private practice in Fairbanks.
Stephen B. Wallace is appointed to Kodiak Superior Court. Wallace has been an Alaska resident for 36 years and has practiced law for 29 ½ years. He graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1988 and is currently the district attorney in Bethel.
David Nesbett is appointed to the Anchorage District Court. Nesbett has been an Alaska resident for 47 years and has practiced law for 20 years. He graduated from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, in 1998, and is currently in private practice in Anchorage. Nesbett is a third-generation Alaskan whose grandfather, Buell Nesbett, was the first Alaska Supreme Court Justice; the state courthouse on 4th Street in Anchorage bears his name.