Judge Sedwick rules against Dunleavy, and in favor of the Deep State - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, December 4, 2021
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Judge Sedwick rules against Dunleavy, and in favor of the Deep State

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Federal Judge John Sedwick says at-will employees of the State of Alaska cannot be fired by incoming administrations.

In a ruling Friday, he said that two psychiatrists fired from the Alaska Psychiatric Institute by the incoming Dunleavy Administration were wrongly released, and that Gov. Mike Dunleavy and his former chief of staff Tuckerman Babcock violated the U.S Constitution and Alaska Constitution by firing them.

According to his ruling, a new governor does not have authority to replace key employees, per the Constitution.

Dunleavy asked about 800 high-level employees of the executive branch if they wanted to continue working for the new administration. That was interpreted by some as a “loyalty pledge.” The term stuck with the willing media. When the two psychiatrists refused to say they wanted to continue working for the new administration, they were released, and they went to the ACLU to sue.

The ruling may mean that governors can also not fire commissioners or directors left over from prior administration, or any others working in the state that are at-will employees.

Although the case was won in U.S. District Court, it’s unclear if the governor will direct the Department of Law to challenge the ruling in the Ninth Circuit. If he does not challenge the ruling, then a permanent class of state employees will be entrenched in the State of Alaska workforce, saddling future governors with people who may seek to undermine the state’s top executive.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • We already have a group of people seeking to undermine the state’s top executive…in Juneau.

    • Alaska’s Judicial system is Corrupt Deep State owned by ACLU, Unions and people of the same mind set of Bill Walker. That is why the Permeant Fund Dividend was changed to a Permanent Fund Appropriation.

  • So the Biden Administration can fire people with Vax Extortion but governor can’t change state employees?

    • The world is literally run by Grey Men, working from dank offices. #MarkGreaney
      .
      Search the term “grey man” then think about Washington DC, Oct 2021. #whoprimesthetelepromterforpotus #letsgobrandon

  • It would be nice to get a little more information about the case. Ie: was the ruling judge a political appointee, what the constitutional argument was, the trial number, a link to the ruling,, names of the litigating attorneys. I’m not looking for pre-determined outrage, but information like that helps crystallize the court case.

    • All federal judges are political appointees subject to Congressional confirmation; they used to routinely teach stuff like that in what they used to call Civics classes. Damned shame we don’t have those any more. Judge Sedgewick has been on the District Ct. bench for Alaska for as long as I can remember. There is a link to the case on the “Alaska’s News Source” website. I couldn’t find who represented the parties, but probably the AK Dept. of Law represented the State and the ACLU represented the plaintiffs.

  • This needs to move up through the hierarchy of the courts

    • Who says they were key employees? It’s according to the Judge’s ruling.. He’s got to go.

    • What a crock!
      Like they said they weren’t hired for their loyalty to Dunleavy, they were hired for their expertise. What court is going to argue with that?
      And next we’ll be hearing from the court on Libby. Heheh!

      • Bill,
        At will employment is just that, at will.

        • This would be a first for Dunleavy, as his group has lost about every court case they’ve tried. And you want him to go again??

          • First time for everything Bill, first time for everything…

          • You do realize that this duo didn’t use “at will” but did give a reason for the termination that the judge ruled violated their constitutional rights.
            It would be a first time. Heheh!

          • You’re not familiar with at-will employment are you Bill?

          • The “duo” I was speaking of was Dunleavy and Babcock.

          • Here is Sedwick on “at will.”
            “They were not actually asking at-will employees to resign en mass,” he continued. “Rather, they were asking employees to offer up their job to the new administration’s express approval on a basis left unclear, but with suggestive political underpinnings.”

          • This sounds like subjective legal mumble-bumble word salad and an arbitrary left leaning judgment, with a side dish of leftist greenback persuasive influence topped with Soros Sauce.

          • Ha!

  • Your last sentence, Suzanne, sums up the motives. Political judges must be removed from the bench. The courts have become enemies of the people.

    • And who decides the political-ness of judges?

  • If their employment contract stipulates they are at will I do not see how the court could make a ruling like this. It violates the contract. But I guess we’ll see.

    • Except Dunleavy didn’t fire them without reason, stipulated the reason, and the judge rules it violated their constitutional rights.
      Dunleavy doesn’t have much of a reputation for his court cases.

  • He absolutely must immediately appeal this ruling by that useless POS that continually legislates from the bench. I would love to see the text of the ruling. I will look it up.

  • An AT will employee is just that at the will of the Administration. This Judge has overstepped his bounds and needs to be ignored. A First Year Law student knows that.

  • Run it up to the Ninth. Judge Sedwick is a partisan activist judge. If the case facts were different, that is, Dunleavy was a Democrat and the employees at issue were Republicans, Sedwick would have ruled in the alternative. This judge erred, and…..he has abused his discretion. Very appealable case. Sedwick has been on the bench too long. He needs to go!

    • Way too long! Sedwick’s decisions are right down there with Joe Biden’s. Both are due for incompetency and incontinency examinations. Time for a hard review of judicial ethics too.

      • Tyrants and skalliwags also come dressed in Black Robes.

  • Good thing Sedgwick is a judge. He can’t even be fired for gross incompetence.

  • All you need is someone with balls of steel who plays 3d chess…….

  • Sedwick covered for Sen. Ted in Bambigate!

  • We will see what this incompetent governor and his staff will do with this. So far he’s known for do nothing, or screw it up!!
    He’s running again? Why????

  • Blame Tuckerman.

  • Sweet – guess that means all appointees then get bumping rights!

  • So, a governor of a state can’t fire two psychologists…but a health employer can fire everyone? Okie-dokie.

  • I thought radical conservatives were all about pro-constitution? So a judge rules that something violates the constitution and you want to rake him across the coals, claiming he sided with “The Deep State”? So I guess you’re really only pro-constitution . When it favors your purposes.

    • From your tone, you believe all conservatives are radical. Our country is screwed when Judges don’t follow the constitution. His Judgment is not the constitution, it’s his opinion and an obviously politically biased opinion.

  • Does at-will mean something else now?

  • Maybe Dunleavy should have listened to and taken advice from Art Chance concerning employment matters in the Executive Branch instead of surrounding himself with self-important narcissists and clueless butt-kissers looking for a sweet paying gig for a while to pad their resumes.
    It was critically important to start cleaning up the entrenched bureaucracy and weed out completely unnecessary PCN’s in every department. Not to worry though. When we run out of money to pay for all the State employees and the cuts must start, the bureaucrats will all keep their cushy jobs while they decide which area doesn’t need a Trooper or someone to plow and sand the highway.

    • Thank you for the kind words. I wrote most of my book, “Red on Blue” in the early ’00s, though I didn’t publish it until ’11. There is a chapter titled “Taking Out the Trash” in which I say:

      “Many states that have had long time Democrat dominance have lots and lots of jobs that look like political appointees but are not. There is a line of U.S. Supreme Court law, interestingly mostly out of Chicago, that says if the employee is not in a policy making position, they do not serve at the pleasure no matter what your state law may say. Make sure your reach does not exceed your grasp … ”

      I hate to have been so right. Dunleavy and his courtiers didn’t even have to put up with me; $9.99 at Amazon would have gotten that information for them, and failing that, anybody in Law or Admin should have been able to tell them that. Either the State’s competence has seriously eroded or there was some malicious obedience.

  • Permanent deep state employees are in constitutional. Next they will say Walker should file with the ACLU for his back deep state dividend. From when he stole from everyone, including himself..

  • Two things:

    1-Alaska is a completely corrupt state.
    2-Of course Dunleavy will cave. It’s what he does. Spineless toad.

  • The ruling like the PFD is no precedent for the people. We are not a monarchy. We are a republic. We have the law that is common to man. Before this ruling the controlling “precedent” was if an employer even if a public employer didn’t like the way one parts his pigtails one could be fired with egregious results in technical jobs thus ruining families financially. Thus I believe this ruling will only apply in one political case. Like the PFD bylaw. DNA. There is a desire that we have rule of man not rule of law amok in AK now. Strange. Oh those democrats.

    • Gotta say, I can never follow you posts.

  • So Governor Dunleavy’s legal advisors reasonably would have confidently told him that previous administrations had done such things with complete freedom and impunity that surely one vitriolic oppositional employee could surely be removed in reliance on previous precedent of judicial rulings. We need new legal guards of the republic.

  • Make them part time and they will leave in due time.

  • Hmmmmm…..
    I guess the term “at will” means something different in the real world.

  • All at will employees should just be fired with no reason given and they can all reapply. The days of civility and a fair and impartial judiciary are long gone, if they ever existed, but there is no reason an executive should have to tolerate saboteurs and blind partisans in their employ.

  • It just depends on what your definition of “is” is. Judge should be kick out of Law what a moron.

  • Don’t be Mr. Nice Guy and ask next time.

  • At the same time creepyunclejoe has been systematically purging Trump appointees from all the federal boards, commissions, and advisory groups – even when they’re appointed for designated terms and are not considered “at will”. I bet Sedwick thinks that’s OK, though.

  • Often there are consequences for one’s actions. Also expensive.

  • I would encourage the commenters that seem to be outraged by this ruling to read the actual findings. This article omits quite a few facts, which I can only assume is an attempt to save face for the administration. This is nothing more than incompetence at the executive branch level, not some politically motivated judge.

    • I have read similar suits, same employer and the outrageous precedence and toleration of real mismanagement puts this decision in outstanding and confusing outlying territory.

      What they have in common is politics in public employment in represented and at-will statuses.

    • Agree

  • Any employer in Alaska has to be concerned about this…Please appeal this to the next level

  • Suzanne, why must you use divisive name calling in you articles? Because a judge renders an opinion doesn’t mean they are a part of the deep state as your title indicates. I don’t necessarily agree with what you write but I do give you the benefit of expressing you opinions. I relish in that diversity. And I might add you have on more than one occasion stated your facts wrong. That doesn’t make me want to call you names or label you in any demeaning way.

    I think you should tame it down. It would make reading you articles more interesting.

  • Who is Brandon?

    • “Brandon” is an obscure NASCAR driver who won the Xfinity race at Talledega, AL last week. While he was being interviewed after the win, the crowd behind him in the stands started yelling “F*ck Joe Biden.” The NBC presstitute tried to say the crowd was chanting “Let’s go Brandon.”

  • Surprise! Surprise! NOT!
    The judicial hate for Dunleavy trumps the law again!
    Banana Republic time!
    I suppose we only get rulings favorable to a governor, if it’s Bill “I get to steal your PFD” Walker!

  • AI still want to know the attorneys’ names for the plaintiffs. And then I can do the proper conclusions. There is a problem with the “at-will” definition. Guess I need to look at that also. What part of the Alaska constitution is this in? And yes, to those mourning the passing of civics classes, try what I am doing now in reading “Alaska Public Policy” about 1100+ pages, but well worth the read.

  • “at-will” employees means the job duration is at the pleasure of the current administration. New administration means new tenure of “at the pleasure of’. Ayy See Ell You needs the attention of a vigilant monitoring group.

  • In the Constitution the judicial does not have power over the executive branch, why do they automatically assume they the judiciary is in charge of the governor. It needs to be appealed all the way up. The three branches are supposed to be separate. Yes, the judicial got the upper hand when they decided that the Constitution is a “living” document and not to be followed. The justices took over and that was the training for lawyers in secular law schools. The idea that they do not have to follow the Rule of Law. Keep praying that justice will be done. Our governor is being pushed around by the judiciary because of the way the judges are appointed in this state.

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