The Alaska Federal Judicial Council, convened by Sen. Dan Sullivan in September, has received 16 applications from Alaskans who want to be considered for a federal judgeship, Must Read Alaska has learned. Six of the 16 had not previously been identified as interested in a judgeship.
The Federal Judicial Council is led by Chair Sean Parnell, former governor of Alaska and current chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage. The group will interview the applicants, rank them, and then make a recommendation to Sullivan. The deadline for applying was Nov. 20.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski has been unfriendly to the process, preferring the bar association. Murkowski is on record saying the judicial council process will delay filling a vacant Alaska U.S. District Court seat.
But 26 states have separate councils to ensure that the bar associations do not have undue influence on judge selection. Before Sullivan convened the panel, the vacancy had already been in existence for two years, since Judge Timothy Burgess retired in 2021.
In addition, Sullivan said he was looking for the new council to “identify federal judiciary candidates of character, experience, and an unflinching commitment to the rule of law.”
The council is an alternative to the Alaska Bar Association, which is also accepting applications and has been the traditional go-to group in Alaska for such recommendations. The bar association, dominated by Democrats, received just 14 applications.
Senators forward recommendations to the White House, which gives the names significant weight when making a nomination for a vacancy. This tradition is based on the Senate’s “blue slip” practice and the Senate’s “advice and consent” role in the U.S. Constitution.
Read who is on the Federal Judicial Council for Alaska at this link: