The Alaska Judicial Council has forwarded to Gov. Mike Dunleavy its four nominees for the vacancy coming up on the Alaska Supreme Court with the retirement of Chief Justice Daniel Winfree.
The lawyers selected by the council after an application and interview the previous day were Anchorage Superior Court Judge Dani Crosby, Department of Law attorney Kate Demarest, Fairbanks attorney Aimee Oravec, or Sitka Superior Court Judge Jude Pate.
Gov. Dunleavy has 45 days to choose one of them. By Alaska Constitution, he has no authority other than to choose one of the names the council advances.
The council did not advance Kotzebue Superior Court Judge Paul Roetman, Department of Law Assistant Attorney General Margaret Paton-Walsh, or Holly Wells, an Anchorage attorney in private practice.
Conservative Roetman would have been the only Hispanic and Arctic rural member of the Supreme Court, and for the second time he has been denied the Supreme Court position.
Paton-Walsh, who often must argue cases in front of the Supreme Court on behalf of the State, has also applied previously for a Supreme Court vacancy.
The council voted for:
Dani Crosby: An Alaska resident for more than 36 years who has practiced law for more than 26 years, she graduated from Gonzaga University School of Law in 1996 and is a Superior Court judge in Anchorage.
Kate Demarest: An Alaska resident for over 12 years who has practiced law for 14 years, she graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2008 and is a senior assistant attorney general in the Opinions, Appeals, and Ethics section at the Department of Law in Anchorage.
Aimee A. Oravec: An Alaska resident for over 23 years who has practiced law for 24 years, she graduated from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law in 1998 and is currently general counsel for Doyon Utilities, LLC.
Jude Pate: An Alaska resident for over 29 years, he has practiced law for more than 28 years. Pate graduated from Lewis and Clark Northwestern School of Law in 1993 and is a superior court judge in Sitka.
The council voted unanimously for Oravec and Crosby. Pate and Demarest were advanced with a 5-1 vote, with member Kristie Babcock voting no on Demarest and member Geraldine Simon voting no on Pate.
The Alaska Judicial Council is a commission created by the Alaska Constitution composed of three Alaska Bar Association attorneys, three non-attomeys, and the Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court.
The council completes an investigation and evaluation of judicial applicants, reviewing each applicant’s education, experience, bar discipline, and credit records, participation in community activities, and other records.
It asks members of the Alaska Bar Association cartel to evaluate the applicants, and encourages the public to submit comments, and interviews the applicants.