Governor pans the nominees for Supreme Court justices, wants new names


Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy today asked the Alaska Judicial Council to reconsider their nominations to the Alaska Supreme Court. He said the choices given to him did not reflect balance or diversity in philosophy or Alaska experience adequately for the governor to make a fair choice for the people of Alaska.

Not by coincidence, surely, the governor waited until July 1, after Chief Justice Joel Bolger had retired. Bolger headed up the Judicial Council and had on various occasions shown bias against Dunleavy during public remarks.

“Alaska’s court system, in particular the Supreme Court, should reflect the balanced viewpoints of all Alaskans,” Dunleavy wrote.

“Over the past several months, I have heard a number of concerns regarding representation of rural Alaska in the Judiciary. I have seen this point articulated by the Supreme Court’s ‘Advisory Committee on Fairness and Access’, outlined in last summer’s statements by the Supreme Court, and recognized through the numerous court system programs target at attracting diversity into the judicial profession,” Dunleavy wrote.

Dunleavy noted that the Judicial Council had bypassed rural applicant Judge Paul Roetman, who has “more time serving as a judge and a significantly longer timeframe living in Alaska than any individual nominated.” Roetman was the only applicant from rural Alaska.

“Alaska is a place where everyone has a fair shot to pursue the life and career they choose,” Dunleavy wrote, “and in that context I want to see our Judiciary reflect the culture and spirit of our state.”

“The people of Alaska wonder how someone like Judge Roetman is qualified to sit where he currently is [Kotzebue] but not have his name put forward for consideration to the Alaska Supreme Court.”

Dunleavy asked for a new slate of names to choose from to replace Bolger.

Not all members of the Judicial Council had concurred with the names of the three Anchorage white women judges. Kristie Babcock, the newest member of the judicial council, said she was disappointed that Roetman, who is Hispanic and from Kotzebue, was not listed as a nominee, even though the Supreme Court had said they sought more diversity.

In fact, all public members supported forwarding Roetman at the May meeting.  Only the attorney members of the council voted no.

It was former Chief Justice Bolger’s own vote that broke the tie and nominated the three women, snubbing Roetman and giving the governor three hardcore liberal judges to choose from.

Read: Bolger breaks tie, nominates three white women from Anchorage to Alaska Supreme Court

The new Supreme Court Justice is Justice Daniel Winfree of Fairbanks, who is now also the head of the Judicial Council.

Read: Kristie Babcock: Only one rural judge applied, and that judge was denied

It was a similar instance in 2019, when Dunleavy was unhappy with names the Judicial Council had provided him for a judicial appointment, that became part of the Recall Dunleavy campaign to unseat the governor.

Read: Recall Dunleavy operative wants governor to appoint woman of color as next Attorney General


  1. What happened to getting positions based on merit? Why does the race of an applicant matter? This sounds like something the Dems would do.

  2. For the Left “diversity” never means intellectual or philosophical diversity. And, apparently, it does not include gender, if it means representation of both genders. I have no idea if a better slate of nominees will result but I give the Governor great credit for trying.

    • “Diversity never means intellectual diversity.”
      This pretty much sums up the argument right there. Roetman scored 6th out of 7 on the application. Why would Alaskans want an unqualified judge? And who the hell thinks that we shouldn’t consider intellect for a supreme court placement?

      • My comment did not involve specific individuals but apparently that is your highest concern. I can assure you that not all lawyers in Alaska are female, from Anchorage, sitting judges and creatures of the Left. Citizens deserve better than such a constrained slate.

      • I am very curious as to the criteria used for this Alaska Judicial Council’s scoring. AKperson, do you know anything about it?

  3. What? Dunleavy rejects three, woke, White women as nominees for the highest court in Alaska? Something must be wrong …….. not with Dunleavy, but rather with the Judicial Council.
    Looking at this judiciously, I would say Dunleavy is ready for another scrap with the Lefties. State Bar Association, Recall Dunleavy, Lefty lawyers, Lefty journalists, Lefty legislators, etc etc.
    I’m starting to like Dunleavy all over again.
    The Lefties give our governor no real choices. They feed him the witch’s brew that they concoct, forcing him to drink the poison of their making.
    Stick it back in their face, gov. The Superior Court judge in Kotzebue/ Nome would make an excellent Supreme Court Justice. He made the original list of candidates. Just bring out his name and choose him. Let the chips fall where they may with the JC.
    Stick it back in their face and feed them their own brew. We Alaskans plan on sending you back for another four years anyway, regardless of what disgraced Bill Walker, Brena, Kendall, Democrats ad nauseum plan for you. This will be a great campaign kick-off.
    Do this!

  4. The system is rigged in favor of the liberal lawyers and judges, the final say should be the people prior to the governor’s.

    • The system is rigged to get the best candidates for the position. Every one who is forwarded to the governor has been thoroughly vetted. Just because the gov doesn’t get the political appointee he wants on the list doesn’t mean the system is flawed. It means the system is working.
      Too bad the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t work this way.

  5. Chief Justice Dan Winfree probably wished he wasn’t chief right now. Three ultra-Lefty white gals all screaming at Governor Dunleavy: PICK ME, PICK ME.
    And Dunleavy wants to pick the Hispanic Superior Court Judge from Kotzebue.
    What’s a chief justice to do? Allow a person of color, from the Bush, to take a seat with all the other Whities on the high bench, or put another White onboard?
    Come on Dan Winfree. Woke-up! Don’t capitulate to White Privilege.
    Justice for brown skin. Justice for Rural Alaska!

  6. Dunleavy bats 1000. when it comes to losing lawsuits, quite clear in the Constitution. sheesh

  7. I couldn’t care a less if the person is a man, woman or what race they are as long as they don’t legislate from the bench and respect both the Alaska and U.S. Constitution. Alaska has some horrible judges that like to impose their social experiments upon everyone else without regard to a persons values and the Law of the Land.

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