There's that thumb on the scale of justice once again - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, April 7, 2020
HomeAnchorage Daily PlanetThere’s that thumb on the scale of justice once again

There’s that thumb on the scale of justice once again

THE ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET

Some are suggesting the fix may be when it comes to the Alaska Supreme Court’s decision on the Recall Dunleavy effort now waiting to be heard by the court.

From all appearances, they may be right.

The court, without even hearing the first argument going to the heart of the case, lifted a lower court’s on-again, off-again bar on the Division of Elections printing of signature booklets, a move desperately sought by Recall Dunleavy. The group – and the source of its funding remains secret today – claimed any delay in signature-gathering would be harmful.

At the same time, the high court said it would hear arguments on the recall effort’s legality March 25 – and inexplicably said it likely would rule the same day or soon after.

That is pretty darned quick.

Add to that, this: Chief Justice Joel Bolger has refused to recuse himself from the case. Why is that important? He is, in effect, a part of the case.

Bolger chairs the Alaska Judicial Council which forwarded the names of two judge candidates to Dunleavy last year. Dunleavy balked, asking why there were so few. Bolger met with Dunleavy last March to school him on how it all works.

“I believe the governor’s office does not understand the constitutional requirements for these nominations,” Bolger told the public ahead of the meeting. “So I’m going to spend some time outlining the requirements of the constitution and the bylaws and procedures the council has adopted to follow the constitution.”

Dunleavy’s “failure” to quickly appoint one of those two judges is the basis for the first recall “charge” against the governor, although he appointed one of the two a few days later, but beyond the statutory time limit – although the sitting judge remained on the bench awaiting retirement a few weeks later.

Read the Anchorage Daily Planet at this link.

Then, Bolger took the opportunity at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention last year to take a shot at Dunleavy, who had cut the court’s administrative budget and said he did so because of the court’s decision on using Medicaid funds for optional abortions. That accusation become Recall Dunleavy’s third “charge,” a violation of separation of powers by attacking the judiciary.

“It’s absolutely essential that judges maintain independence to make decisions based on the law and facts and not on political or personal considerations,” Bolger told the AFN.

“We are facing a great deal of political pressure. Some people want to make the judicial selection system more political. Others would like to impose political consequences for the content of judicial decisions.

“So I respectfully ask this convention to join me in resisting political influence in our courts.”

So, let’s see: Bolger was directly involved in Recall Dunleavy’s first “charge” and he made public political statements about the the third recall “charge.” And he refuses to recuse himself. That is the definition of rigged, akin to a robbery victim being on the jury of the accused robber. Add to that the court’s promised quick decision in March even before hearing the arguments and a rational person could have real questions about the court and the ethics of its chief justice.

It is as clear as the nose on your face: Bolger, appointed by former Gov. Sean Parnell, should either recuse himself or resign. The people of Alaska deserve a high court that will do everything in its power to keep its thumb off the scale.

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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

  • Wow. You’re right. The fix is in. Refusing to recuse himself is corruption. That judge certainly has no right to point fingers, given his involvement in this case.

  • Bolger should recuse himself or just flat out resign !!

  • ….by the way…if Jay Rabinowitz was on the court….and Bolger pulled these stunts….Bolger would be flat out the door….Bolger’s integrity level is pretty base, at the bottom of the heap.

    • I do not have personal knowledge of Justice Rabinowitz’ approach to recusal matters but must note that he was a highly reliable left-leaning judge. On the question of recusal, I would go with the late Justice George Boney.

  • So what’s new in the leftist, socialist, democrat world? Looks like the U.S. supremes will need to “slap a few wrists” in Alaska. Of course, the Alaska supremes think they’re above the real law. Aren’t they the ones supposed to uphold “Justice For All”, not a rigged kangaroo court? If a recall is good for the “goose” (Governor), is it good for the “gander” (AK supreme court)? Seems like it would be.

  • I agree with you that Judge Bolger should recuse himself or better still just resign. We cannot allow Kangaroo courts in Alaska.

  • What happens if somehow the AK Supremes decide that one of the charges is unconstitutional? All of the signatures will need to be regathered since anyone signing would be signing on a different set of charges. Unless of course they already know that all charges will be allowed, or they will rule to allow all signatures even though the facts would have changed.

    Not a good look for what is supposed to be an impartial third party…not good at all.

    • I see you are still hoping for a tooth fairy! Heheh!

      • Nope, wasn’t hoping for one but it looks like you found me!

  • P)lease read Article 12, Section 8 of the state constitution, which says, “The enumeration of specified powers in this constitution shall not be construed as limiting the powers of the State”. The only reason for any Constitution is to limit the powers of the State. Otherwise the State has unlimited powers like any other Totalitarian State. You are not reading a Constitution here!! You are reading Corporate By-Laws. We need a real Constitution founded as a Constitutional Republic. Seymour Marvin Mills Jr. sui juris

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