Judicial Council advances three names for new Supreme Court Justice, snubs the lone minority rural applicant - Must Read Alaska
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Friday, July 23, 2021
HomePoliticsJudicial Council advances three names for new Supreme Court Justice, snubs the lone minority rural applicant

Judicial Council advances three names for new Supreme Court Justice, snubs the lone minority rural applicant

The Judicial Council advanced to Gov. Mike Dunleavy the names of three judges to fill the upcoming vacancy on the Alaska Supreme Court. But in breaking a tie vote, Chief Justice Joel Bolger turned back the only minority and rural applicant.

The finalists were Dani Crosby, Jennifer Stuart Henderson, and Yvonne Lamoureux, white urban women.

The members of the council had the chance to advance the name of a rural minority judge, Paul Roetman of Kotzebue Superior, but the three lawyers on the council voted against the rural judge, while the three public members voted for him.

Chief Justice Joel Bolger broke the tie and voted against Roetman, in spite of Bolger being on the record stating that the court needs rural justices and minorities.

The judges whose names were advanced are all Anchorage Superior Court judges. Their names will be forwarded to the governor who must choose the next Supreme Court justice from those three.

Roetman, who describes himself as Mexican-American, has served in Kotzebue for many years and his nomination was championed by public member Kristie Babcock.

Ironically, it was Babcock who faced hostility from Democrats for her nomination to the judicial council because she was not from rural Alaska. Rep. Matt Claman lobbied against her for that reason, as did other Democrats and two members of the Alaska Redistricting Board. Babcock is from Kenai.

During the discussion at her first vote on the Judicial Council, Babcock said that if Roetman’s name could not be moved forward, she’ would vote against the other nominees.

“If we cannot move that name forward, then it’s not right to move any names forward,” Babcock said.

Roetman is considered a conservative “constructionist” judge. The three whose names were advanced to Dunleavy are all considered liberal to quite partisan.

Bolger is leaving the court early. Although his term ends in 2027, he has become controversial due to perceived hostilities toward the Dunleavy Administration.

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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

  • Why all women? Identity politics again?!

  • The trial lawyers on the council strike again making their point and keep the court far left…At some point this must change.

  • Typical liberals. Apply policy when it’s to their benefit, ignore that same policy when it’s to their benefit.

    One would think the hypocrisy of the left would nausate them. Rather, they seemingly thrive on it.

  • The Judicial Council has to be reformed or we start electing judges. I was raised in the rural South, the land of corrupt, elected judges so I am viscerally opposed to electing judges, but I’m ready for almost anything other than having the leftist Bar Association picking our judges.

  • Roetman got an overall score of 3.4 — the second to lowest rating of the 7 who applied. For years the right has said applicants should be chosen based on merit – and that race and gender shouldn’t matter. Why the sudden change of heart?

  • RE: Art Chance
    Oh please – the tie-breaking vote was from Bolger – a Palin and Sullivan appointee. Why are you so focused on Roetman? What about his poor scores?

  • Suzanne, wasn’t it Jennifer Stuart Henderson who decided that the Republican in a Muldoon district lost the election — at least in part — due to the moving and lack of information regarding a voting place, and then decided it was too late to do anything about it? Trying to recall who that judge was, but I seem to remember the name “Jennifer.”

  • Just put in an honest god fearing person.
    Do the Right thing governor

  • “Chief Justice Joel Bolger broke the tie and voted against Roetman, in spite of Bolger being on the record stating that the court needs rural justices and minorities.”

    Interesting…would coming from a rural setting or being a minority cause someone to be a superior judge?

    Because if it doesn’t then there is no valid reason why we “need” judges from rural communities or minority populations.

    And if being rural or non-white DOES make one a superior judge then they should ALL be from rural communities or minority populations.

    Bolger should probably retire and let Dunleavy appoint someone to replace him who might actually believe that justice should be blind…colorblind, that is…because anyone who can make a statement like that obviously isn’t impartial.

  • The photo of judge Bolger is worth a thousand words – effete , perpetually outraged, incompetent & low intelligence yuppie!

  • No words. Again.

  • This photo speaks a thousand words about the state of politics in Alaska. Three Communists who have run the state into the ground

  • Is the governor allowed to deny all 3 of them and force the board to reconsider?

  • Roetman is a good friend of Bill Walkers and is also from Valdez.

  • I love this file footage of the thief of the PFD Rep. Bryce Edgmon, and his sweetheart Sen. Cathy Giessel. Just kind of puts a smile on my face.

  • It’s past time for a change in that system.
    The Alaska bar should have as much input as I do. They are a third of the gov.

  • All three of these women Superior Court judges were previously appointed by ……..guess who………….?
    Former Governor Bill Walker, the most corrupt, disgraced governor in Alaska’s history.
    .
    Judge Roetman was appointed by Governor Parnell.
    .
    Bolger wanted a White woman on the high bench just to appease the broken Lefty egos in Anchorage, who just had their hind ends kicked by the voters.
    .
    Thanks, Bolger. You’re a real warrior for the Left, as you ride off into the sunset.

  • Thanks for fixing that Suzanne. No need to cause a divorce. LOL

  • AK Judicial Person:
    Who does the scoring? Some Left wing kooks at the Bar Association. Conservative, reasoned judges like Roetman will always get scored low.
    That’s just the way Democrats and Lefties operate. And then we end up with idiots on the bench. But ohhh, they FEEL so good!

  • May the most doctrinaire liberal prevail again.

  • To Alaska Judicial Person:
    You failed to let us know that 1) the 3.4 vote rating which you claim was lower than the three whose names were submitted to the Governor was based on a 1 to 5 scale with a 3 rated as acceptable, and 2) that the only people polled are lawyers and that applicants are then evaluated by three lawyers and the Judge who is also a lawyer. Sounds like the fox in charge of the chicken house, huh?
    The Bar association in Alaska is notoriously extremely liberal and Roetam is known as a conservative law and order judge. If there was a poll of the public the results would be far different.
    My guess is that you are either one of the lawyer members of the Judicial Council or a lawyer that resents a judge that follows the law instead of a political Agenda.
    Which is it?

  • Partisan. Hypocrites.

  • BOSK,
    Then change the Alaska Constitution.

  • Ryan Nelson,

    Please read the Alaska Constitution. The governor must pick one of the three persons submitted by the Alaskan Judicial Council, according to the Alaskan Constitution. Dunleavy attempted to flout the Constitution on March 19, 2019 by refusing to nominate any of the three names submitted by the Judicial Council, in violation of the Alaska Constitution. This is one of the reasons for his recall. It is illegal for an Alaskan governor to refuse to nominate a person submitted by the Alaskan Judicial Council. If you do not like this procedure, then change the Alaskan Constitution.

  • Caterina,
    The makeup of the Alaskan Supreme Court is currently 80% and 20% female. The appointment of one women to the court would bring the female percentage on the court only up to 40%. This may be one reason why all of the nominees were women.

  • TB
    You can’t answer with a yes or a no? No need to give a lecture. Congrats on the fact that you are an AK constitutional Scholar.

  • Nonsense. They advanced the three with the highest scores. If you are so concerned about rural voices then how about the BS of Babcock being appointed.

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