Judicial poppycock - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, September 16, 2021
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Judicial poppycock

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By ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET

Here is some bad news for elected office-holders in Alaska who thought they could be recalled only for serious infractions. It turns out, they can be recalled on simply a whim, or a policy disagreement, a philosophical difference or, well, just because. Alaska now has “standardless” recalls.

Most of the Alaska Supreme Court says so.

The court upheld a Superior Court ruling that allowed the Recall Dunleavy initiative to go forward because its allegations against Gov. Mike Dunleavy – as flimsy as they were – jibed with Alaska statutes.

But one justice, now-retired Justice Craig Stowers dissented from the ridiculous decision. He said the court’s action was an overreach and a breach of the Alaska Constitution.

“I urge every legislator to carefully consider the court’s opinion today. The opinion opens the door to standardless recall petitions,” he wrote. “The court repeatedly says that Alaska courts are to apply the ‘prima facie’ standard to recall petition allegations and, accepting the allegations as true, if any logical connection can be made between an allegation and a statutory ground for recall, the petition must be found to be legally sufficient. 

“I urge the legislature to, at the least, provide specific statutory definitions for the recall grounds to decrease the opportunity for judicial involvement in what is best done by the legislature — that is, legislating. This is not a partisan issue. The greatly expanded access to recall created by the court’s decision today can and will be used not to actually seek to recall an elected official for cause, but instead to seek to recall an elected official because of disagreements over policy. And in Alaska, disagreement over policy or political philosophy is not a proper subject for recall.”

The Division of Elections had refused to certify the recall application, saying its four allegations against Gov. Mike Dunleavy were not legally or factually sufficient for recall.

The Recall Dunleavy Committee went to the Alaska Superior Court, which sided with the recall initiative backers. The state appealed, but lost, and the high court offered a summary judgment while at the same time saying it would explain later how the committee’s recall application satisfied the legal requirements. What Alaskans got instead was judicial poppycock.

In response to the court’s “explanation,” Dunleavy said:

“The Alaska Supreme Court today issued an opinion that creates a standardless recall process, subjecting elected officials at every level, and across the political spectrum, to baseless, expensive, and distracting recall elections by their political opponents. The court has made it clear that even plainly false allegations of wrongdoing can trigger this process, undermining our election process, and prevents our elected officials from focusing on the many serious issues facing Alaskans.”

What we now have is recall effort targeting Dunleavy, financed by shadowy, anonymous figures and allowed to go forward on laughably flimsy grounds. What we will have in the future, courtesy of the state high court’s innate wisdom, is more of the same if the Legislature does not act.

Our deepest respects to Justice Stowers, a guy who clearly has read and understands the Alaska Constitution, for his clear and reasoned view of the mess.

Read more at Anchorage Daily Planet.

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Latest comments

  • Thank you, Suzanne.
    Please keep hammering on how corrupt our judicial system is. Again, thank you so much! ❤️

    • Right on Jeremy. This decision is simply welfare for lawyers and the liberal media – and total disregard and disrespect for everyone else and the State Constitution. Impeach the Alaska Supreme Court – but not until after we reform the judicial nomination process.

    • Hear hear👍👍👍

  • Behold what happened to Trump; manufactured scandals, investigations, impeachments, spying, insubordination, you-name-it. At least with baseless recalls the Enemies Of The People will have to spend money on a recall election. Either way, the devolution of constitutional governance and society in general will continue unabated.

  • The Standardless Recall option will be used to correct any unforseen failures of desired outcomes after the Ranked Choice Voting system is manipulated to decide elections.
    The state unions and resident representatives for the outside special interests ultimately always dominate the swine trough filled by the oil revenue spigot.
    But just the thought of meaningful budget reductions, the cuts never did or will actually occur, caused unnecessary stress on the essential state unions.
    No threat of reducing and streamlining government and creating policies that would lead to a truly prosperous Alaska can be tolerated.

    • Well said Brian. Unfortunately my hopes that the Supreme Court will hear and reverse the insane rank choice voting has dimmed 😭

  • Unfortunately we have to many incompetent, unethical, unqualified legislators in Juneau.

  • Stowers was one of the best. His interpretation of the state Constitution was almost always reasoned and rational ……..and logical. The other justices…….almost always guided by their proclivities for left-wing justice.
    Hope that Winfree gleaned some of Stowers common sense.

  • Oh, the irony!
    .
    The flimsy recall is allowed to proceed, but the clearly and appropriately named BM #2, which clearly violates the state constitution requirement of one issue in a BM can be voted on.
    .
    Golly, sakes. What does the “court” get right?

  • Hysterical that this is placed right above the puff piece on recalling Meg Zalate. With a worthless rag.

    • You don’t have to read or comment. Back to CNN with you!

  • The communists have taken over Alaska’s Judicial System!

  • Can we recall the judges to????
    Make it fair.

  • What I fear is that Alaska will not get good people to run when it is so easy to be subjected to a recall by a sore loser. And of course, the legislature will be free to build a wall around any governor that wants to get anything done that will lead to a prosperous Alaska. I personally don’t think that Alaskans deserve this. But until the establishment is tar and feathered and run out of Juneau permanently, nothing will change. Oh, I forgot, maybe the democrats will survive. Then Alaska will be just like California, deep in debt to the point that it cannot be paid off, with high taxes and no real middle class, just the poor and the rich. Oh yeah, the rich will not be paying the taxes, the poor will.

  • The comments and observation above are spot on accurate.
    Democrats will continue to survive and thrive , it isn’t by accident Murkowski “won” the write in election, that Ranked Choice Voting is in place, and Republicans are like chameleons. They pretend to be the opposition, but as this current legislative session illustrates they simply are indistinguishable from their dominant cousins.

  • Everyone makes mistakes, but if you voted for Walker, you really should be reflecting on this. Yes, the establishment has been corrupt for some time. Yes, the left is capable of truly evil actions, and Yes, the judiciary in Alaska is a partisan joke.

    All that said, Walker, and his quest for power for powers sake, made ALL of the groups above, MORE powerful. Electing that totally immoral and unethical regime lead to what we see now.

  • Time to get busy, Southeast Alaska and recall Bert Stedman!! Maybe when you suffer enough you will get on the ball and get the signatures moving to get rid of the idiot….no ferries, not PFD, higher prices and unreasonable rates for travel. Communities in Southeast are getting poorer and no one has the gump to get rid of the person for your money woes in your communities.

  • Without standards, then we can have a recall field day. Let’s start by recalling Bill Walker retroactively as prevention from running again. Next, let’s recall Byron Mallott from the dead.

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