THE ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET
What we first thought was a return to common sense in the misguided recall effort aimed at Gov. Mike Dunleavy turns out to only be a reaffirmation of earlier silliness.
For reasons only he knows, Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth on Jan. 10 ordered the Division of Elections to issue signature booklets to the Recall Dunleavy group – even as its case against the state pends in court. The state had rejected the group’s recall petition as having insufficient grounds.
The order allowed the group to begin another round of signature-gathering to force a special election to replace Dunleavy.
Tuesday, the judge signed an order, at the request of the Stand Tall with Mike group, that halted that booklet distribution until the Alaska Supreme Court gets a chance to look at the case. From where we sit, that only makes eminent good sense. In the end, it could save the state money and time.
All that was out the window Wednesday when Aarseth said “the court inadvertently issued an order” on Tuesday that paused his ruling ordering the Alaska Division of Elections to distribute signature booklets to Recall Dunleavy. He vacated his Tuesday ruling. Turns out, the judge was out of town, and says he approved the wrong order by telephone.
Stand Tall with Mike gets another chance to argue its case for suspension of the booklet distribution, but who knows how that will turn out?
Aarseth’s ruling that the booklets must be distributed seems to us no less than a judicial thumb on the scale of justice. The Recall Dunleavy group saves precious time by Aarseth’s decision allowing it – despite its case being unresolved in the court system – to proceed as if everything is copacetic.
It would seem to us that holding up the booklets until the all judicial remedies are exhausted would only make good sense.
Whatever the eventual outcome, this bit of on-again, off-again judicial dither is enough to make Alaskans begin to wonder about their court system.
If the Recall Dunleavy group’s ridiculously low bar for recall, if the same level of mis-, mal- and non-feasance it applied to Dunleavy were applied to Aarseth’s handling of his booklet order, he might well find himself looking for a new job.
Read more at the Anchorage Daily Planet.