Unicycling magistrate judge loses job after writing letters disparaging Republicans

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Alaskans already know judges in Alaska trend liberal. That’s because the governors who appoint them must choose, per the Alaska Constitution, from a short list provided by the Alaska Judicial Council, which is ever-stacked with members of the Alaska Bar Association, a liberal trade association. The offerings have leaned Left for generations.

But a magistrate judge in Seward took partisan leanings to a whole new level by writing letters to the Anchorage Daily News in which he disparaged the Republican Party, its members, and by inference all those who vote Republican. In a letter in December, Seward Magistrate George Peck wrote a letter titled “Protecting Our Rights” that was the final straw for his career.

“Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s recent commentary promised that government’s infringement on our rights will ‘not go unchecked’ by his party. This is rich, coming from a leader within the party whose members recently and vigorously tried to disenfranchise 81 million voters and whose party is actively trying to steer the US. into an authoritarian kleptocracy,” Peck wrote.

It wasn’t the only such letter Peck has had published by the ADN regarding his view about the poor traits of Republicans.

“Now that it is clear that a majority of Republican politicians and voters are okay with the recent attempt at sedition by their president, it makes you wonder if they will succeed next time,” Peck wrote to the ADN in February of 2021.

But the most recent letter written by Peck was published after Dunleavy had declared himself to be a candidate for re-election. While the earlier letter may have seemed inappropriate to many, the December one clearly broke the Code of Judicial Conduct, and for that, Peck has lost his job.

Peck came to Alaska to be a magistrate in 1974 and has been one ever since. After retiring in 2016, he has served as a temporary magistrate since then, but the letter that published by the ADN in December was too much for Judge William Morse, presiding judge for the Third Judicial District.

“Renewal of your temporary appointment is currently up for review. To determine if your temporary appointment should be extended, I considered the business needs of the Seward court and your ability to meet those needs,” Morse wrote in his letter to Peck.

“When questioned, you confirmed that you were the author of this letter and that you wrote it, ‘because of the
current anti-democratic behavior of the republican party.” You did not believe writing this letter could create an ethical concern under the Code of Judicial Conduct and that it would not impact public perception about your ability be fair and impartial. when deciding cases where the State of Alaska is a party participant. I disagree. The Judicial Cannons require that in all activities you act in a manner hat promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. You shall not allow politics to influence your conduct or judgement. As a Magistrate Judge, the public entrusts you to decide cases with the utmost fairness, independence, and impartiality. The power of your own voice, even when expressed of the bench, can become inextricably tied to your position, especially in a small community where you are the sole judicial officer,” wrote Morse.

Morse said that the district needs a full-time magistrate, anyway, to handle the workload. and that as of Jan. 7, Peck’s services are “no longer needed.” He reminded Peck that personnel rules outline that his appointment was as an “at-will” employee and he is not eligible to file a grievance, unless he has a complaint to make about discrimination.

Peck moved to Alaska in 1974 after working in Nepal in the Peace Corps and spending nearly a decade at the University of Idaho, where he got degrees in physics, law, and teaching, according to a story in The Atlantic Magazine, which did a feature on him as a talented self-taught unicyclist.

Peck has been a member of the Alaska Bar Association since 1975, and as a longtime State of Alaska employee, no doubt has a handsome Tier 1 retirement package that will easily cover his cost of living — and then some. The average magistrate judge in Alaska, according to Salary.com, is $191,959, falling somewhere between $188,291 and $214,822.

Read: The Atlantic Magazine’s feature on George Peck, the unicyclist.

Watch: Alaska Public Media video of Peck unicycling at this link.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1997/04/rough-terrain-unicycling/376837/

98 COMMENTS

  1. Poor guy. Must not have understood the 1st Amendment restrictions. You’d think a magistrate would know better. Or a Supreme Court Justice.

  2. Suzanne is absolutely right about the Alaska Judicial Council being the cause of the very liberal leaning in the court system. The Council puts together the list of judges that the Governor MAY choose from from. The Governor is often faced with a ‘least worst’ decision. Unfortunately, it’s liberal group-think that results. We must change this. The Governor, as the elected chief executive, should be able to choose whoever he wants. Having a law degree may not be the primary consideration after what we have seen in recent years.

    Kudos to Judge Morse for calling Peck out on his breach of ethics. People like Peck believe that they can self-righteously spew their vitriol against political groups they don’t agree with and then claim they are completely fair in their subsequent judicial conduct. Such arrogance! Good riddance, Mr. Peck! Now you will have more time to write all the foolish letters you want and not have to pretend to have a judicial temperament.

    • “Spew his vitriol”? Not only is Peck correct in his assessment of the Republican Party but he also has first amendment rights.

      • He has exactly zero 1st Am. rights as a public employee. You brainwashed young geniuses aren’t nearly as smart as your communist teachers told you that you were.

        • Um, yeah he has 1st. Am. rights. One does not relinquish his Constitutional rights just because he takes a job. His problem is that he stated them in public on a subject relating to a candidate in the upcoming election, a big no no. He even went so far as to admit that.
          You, sir, obviously did not relinquish your 1st Am. rights while working for the state, but you were probably good at not stating them publicly so you could keep you well paid job.
          The main basis of the 1st Amendment is to protect political speech, within certain bounds (no promoting armed rebellion against the government, no profanity unless you’re a stand-up comedian, don’t yell FIRE under certain circumstances etc., etc.). I’m surprised you even make this argument.

      • Another(yawn) mindless leftist demonstrating his penchant for opening his head and letting the stupid fall out. Buckle up, Evan, it’s school time for you. (Not that this will help your condition)
        One, did Peck swear an oath and sign a contract to discharge the duties and responsibilities entrusted to him by the State Of Alaska as an officer of the court with the highest professionalism, conduct and impartiality? YES.
        Two, everyone knows “a person can think anything they want but once you say something, it’s SAID.” How stupid and arrogant/hate filled does a person in Peck’s position have to be to not just say something as off the wall and prejudiced as what he wrote BUT TO REPEATEDLY PUBLISH IT IN THE NEWSPAPER?
        Regardless of his politics, he should be fired and censured just because he’s too stupid to be trusted in an important job like a judgeship.
        Three, JUDGES HAVE NO FIRST AMENDMENTS RIGHTS. Individuals have rights but a person in a public office, especially one as important as a judge, don’t get to use their office as a platform for their personal opinions.

      • Clueless, as always, Evan.
        .
        Not only does both the law (the Alaska judicial code) and his judicial superiors clearly recognize the violation of judicial ethics that Mr. Peck committed, but common sense would recognize it as well. Which I guess explains your lack of that recognition here.

          • That may be your assumption, Homo, lacking all scientific knowledge and understanding, but even a child can clearly see, in the proper circumstances — and there are many such opportunities — that the earth is not flat. The fact that I can only see the top half of Mr. McKinley from where I live, with no other mountains standing in the way, is evidence enough that the earth is spherical and not a plane.

          • That doesn’t explain why so many people once thought you would sail off the edge of the world if you went too far.
            Truth and science are often opposed by those in power because it threatens them.
            And, with all due respect, it is now officially Denali everywhere. Finally.

          • Homo, it is wonderfully ironic that you, as an official member of the KKK (Krazy Kovidian Kult), would make the following true statement:
            .
            “Truth and science are often opposed by those in power because it threatens them.”
            .
            If you cannot see the irony of a KKKer posting that claim, in the face of the vast establishment campaign to attack, suppress, censor and disparage those who have been speaking the TRUTH surrounding the Wuhan Virus, and exposing the absurdity and crimes of the establishment’s propaganda campaign of hysteria, fearmongering and control that has resulted, then you do cannot have even two functioning brain cells.
            .
            PS: I will call the highest mountain in North America “Mount McKinley” until the day I die, the specious PC and anti-American renaming of that mountain by cynical and self-loathing cultural nihilists notwithstanding.

      • “……..Not only is Peck correct in his assessment of the Republican Party but he also has first amendment rights.”
        He might have First Amendment rights, but he has little wisdom under that sophomoric haircut. He already has great power within the system itself, and virtually guaranteed for life if he can manage to moderate his vitriol, yet he feels it necessary to publicly barf it forth after his rulings over the years have helped ruin the very system he helps rule. A guy that unable to control himself probably isn’t the best choice to administer blind justice.

  3. Free people may not have rights usurped. Public corporations are not sovereign. Public servants remain servants and can’t transmute themselves into dictators in this guaranteed republic. None of government policies are conduits to infringe equal rights. Those who take oaths to defend the US Constitution are subjects to laws of nations. They gave up sovereignty of free people to accept benefits of a stipend. The law of the land, not the water, is what judges are bound by. Everything in a state constitution or city charter in conflict with this US Constitution is void for effect. Instruments of government do not ever yield the people’s sovereignty to public servants in this republic.

  4. Being treated as a demi-god for over forty years will probably do little to deflate a person’s ego. Keep in mind that many judges in Alaska probably hold the exact same views. This fella screwed up by writing letters to the editor, that is the only difference.

  5. That is some serious blow to his ego. Public embarassment from your peers. Hopefully he be okay. From what I am learning democrats are fragile and face difficulty facing chastisement. ‘He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.’ Psalm 103

  6. That’s not his real picture right?

    Barber: so whatchu want?

    Peck: you ever see Adams Family?

    Barber: my boy Lurch, I got you fam

  7. Now a little circus music for our liberal unicycling goof!
    .
    Nut dut duh-duh duh-da dut dut dah dah…

  8. Peck sounds like a pretty interesting guy. I wonder what the “but mah free speech” folks think of him losing his job over something he wrote in a paper. Sounds like he’s smart enough to know his temporary position would no doubt be terminated after writing such material. Is it worse though knowing what he wrote was 100% spot on?

    • The more interesting question is whether he might have considered, just for a second, his obligations under the Code of Judicial Conduct. But probably not; the ends always justify the means…. right? And besides, rules and obligations are only for little people.

      • Who are you referencing with the “only for little people” commentary? Probably those Capitol Hill DVEs who — committing violent insurrection and mayhem — fought, looted, destroyed and defecated their way throughout The People’s House.

        Those little people, right?

        • “…….Those little people, right?”
          Yeah, along with the ones in black repeatedly setting the federal courthouse ablaze (with people inside) in Portland night after night for months.

          • “…:[A]long with the ones in black…” Better punch up that YouTube again, Reg.

            Those goons in black uniforms — without identifying insignia — were on the courthouse side of the fence. They, and the other camo-clad, jack-boot thugs (again, without insignia) stationed outside the fence were slug slime-masquerading-as-a-former-President Mango Mussolini’s shock troops.

            MM’s black-clads lobbed incendiary teargas at lines of leaf blower dad’s, moms, college and high school kids; and veterans. Veterans including a 6’4″ unarmed Naval Academy grad vet whom they infamously beat down when he challenged the fact they wore no insignias. These are the people who “returned to sender” sparking — and sometimes flaming — teargas canisters.

            “As you sow, so shall you reap.”

        • Changing power structures in Kahsikistan is revealing interesting connections purportedly with “46”. When, if ever, will you talk about that? That is “ok” with you. Not very “nice”.

        • Sophie, the only insurrection that has happened in the USA recently was the widespread looting, burning and mayhem caused by BLM and (so-called) “antifa” rioters in the summer of 2020. A number of police stations and courts were destroyed in the process. THAT was literal insurrection! What happened last January 6th was a mostly peaceful protest, and I applaud it and the spirit behind it.

          • Jeff, how do you deal with the joint chiefs of staff stating the attack on the capitol January 6th was an insurrection?

            “The violent riot in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021 was a direct assault on the U.S. Congress, the Capitol building, and our Constitutional process. We mourn the deaths of the two Capitol policemen and others connected to these unprecedented events.
            We witnessed actions inside the Capitol building that were inconsistent with the rule of law. The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection.”

            They, btw, did not issue any such letter regarding the violent riots over the summer.

            I guess the men in uniform are not as credible as “jefferson from mrak”

            LOL

          • Now, John, you’ll probably also try to trot out the old and completely discredited canard about “17 intelligence agencies agree that Trump colluded with Russia”, lol.
            .
            John, your specious appeal to authority is not a logical argument, and is meaningless to the reality of the situation.
            The only insurrection in this country is the ongoing one by radical leftist extremists such as yourself to undermine and destroy the social, political and economic fabric of this nation. You are everything that you falsely claim your opponents to be.

          • Jefferson, are you still making up words to suit your opinion? Did you hear Donald Trump started crying and shutdown his interview with Steve Inskeep today? That’s your tactic. Cry and whine about being a victim of mean people who simply tell you what you don’t want to hear. It’s a shame you think being an adult is a deep state conspiracy.

          • “…….They, btw, did not issue any such letter regarding the violent riots over the summer………”
            Precisely. So why is that? Can we just assume that they simply don’t give a rat’s tail unless it’s their parade ground that’s overrun?

          • Reggie, have you ever asked yourself why you are always in a rage over a belief that you’re the victim of a giant cover up or conspiracy? The joint chiefs didn’t ignore the riots over the summer. They were well aware of the riots and the fact that they have happened for decades in cities. Remember the LA riots in the 90s? The New York riots in the 60s? These were in response to killings. Not an attempt to overthrow the government.

            What was the attack on the capitol the result of? Oh right, it was a political coup attempt to block the peaceful transition of power from one administration to the other. This is a fact. Period end of story.

            If you don’t know why the joint chiefs were more concerned with a president leading an attack on the government than were of public unrest due to killings that occurred, then you should be asking yourself when the next civics class is available in your area and then sign up for it.

            The riots were not insurrections, anymore than the LA riots or the New York City riots in response to police brutality or MLK being killed.

            If you have anymore questions, ask. But downplaying an insurrection because your political allies carried out the attack is not a patriotic response.

      • He told the truth. Seems when telling the truth and the code are at odds, he made a choice to tell the truth. Like I said, interesting guy.

    • John, the raging hypocrisy and blind arrogance of you radical leftists, which I have noted for over 40 years now as a hallmark of your species, never ceases to amaze and disgust me.

          • Your victim complex has you thinking your pouts are observations.

            I suppose if anything disgusts you more than facts or presenting a coherent argument, it’s radical leftists who make the mistake of embarrassing you on your home turf.

          • Jefferson, you went off on a rant about radical leftists when you read my comment simply observing the fact that Republicans today are still denying the election results of 2020. It’s 2022 now. And Donald Trump just ran out of an interview this morning because his claims of election fraud without evidence were questioned. Of course you have a victim complex. You think liberals are the reason you can’t keep making baseless claims of truth that have no evidence to support them. And when someone reminds you of the truth, you start crying about liberals. It’s standard victim complex tantrum throwing. If you can’t defend your opinion, throw a fit. If you weren’t so invested in a sham idea, you could have a conversation without breaking down like a toddler.

  9. Thanks for the write up on this guy. Did not realize he was the unicyclist. Inspired a lot of riders in this state. Have to respect someone who is not afraid to sign his name on his opinions.

  10. Bob Bird (among several others) is advocating a constitutional amendment regarding the Permanent Fund Dividend calculation. Amending judicial appointments looks like another great topic to add to such a convention. In addition, maybe it’s time to no begin talking about the election of sheriffs in the boroughs so the people aren’t pawns to local officials police chief appointments. I have memories of the Palin/Stambaugh confrontation and the repeated DPS service dropping (Wasilla and the Anchorage Hillside in the 80’s, the Butte in the 90’s, Girdwood and the Seward Hwy recently) to pressure localities to pay more.

    • I think a constitutional convention would be a grievance fest. Grievance and hypocrisy are all that’s left of the Republican Party.

      • “I think a constitutional convention would be a grievance fest………”
        That’s exactly what it’s building up to be, and the grievances to be addressed are multiplying. I’ve always opposed a constitutional convention because I trust nobody (left, right, or middle), but as this society implodes, I’m beginning to admit to myself that a last gasp might stave it off until I’m peacefully resting in a grave when it finally blows like a volcano. As old as I am, however, and as devolution accelerates, I’m ready to acknowledge that I’ll be here for the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

  11. An old guy like that and never advancing up the judicial ladder means that he wasn’t respected, or qualified, by his own peers. His haircut looks like his mother placed a cooking bowl over his head and shaved it clean under the bowl. “The My Favorite Martian” look from the 60’s. LOL.

      • Marla has a point. The legal community in Fairbanks was aghast at Parnell’s appointment of Jane Kauvar to the Superior Court. Obviously, it was far more important to save face. 31 years as a District Court judge is the equivalent of all the checkers I saw on the day shift at Safeway who had been at that job for 31 years.

    • Marla: you base your assertions on assumptions not evidence which is a typical strategy for the hateful right.

      • You’re projecting again, Evan.
        .
        All you un-American radical leftist extremists are annoying good at accusing your opponents (and all others, in fact) of that which YOU are guilty. It is the adult (sic) equivalent of “I know you are, but what am I?”

      • No. Seriously, what guy in his latter 70’s wants to stay on as a magistrate? If your ticket isn’t punched for District Court or Superior Court by age 60, you are a has been on the judicial ladder. Mandatory retirement at age 70, with part-time work as the only option. This guy stayed on because no one else wanted the job and he needed validation in his little community. All the younger judges laughed at him, as being an old fogey who wrote letters to the editor about Republicans. The ABA kept him around for giggles, until his hair job finally got to them too.

  12. Gee I wonder how his “honor” would conduct himself if he were to be handed testimony, audio, video and other forms of ballot tampering and election fraud? 🤔
    Or maybe an illegal rules change or two. (If he hasn’t already )
    We all know that answer.
    The Brandification of American is the end result

  13. Generally speaking, I find it to be an amazing conundrum that judges clam up tight about their political leanings during questioning in Senate committee hearings, but have no problem splashing all their radical views upon the editorial pages of newspapers and magazines. No wonder we never find out the truth until its too late.

    • Him being correct or incorrect isn’t the issue, and your lack of recognizing that fact is a big part of the problem. Have you been paying attention to the Twitter Wars between elected officials from POTUS on down to local school board members nationwide? I suppose you feel aloft “judging” their “correctness” rather than seeing their vitriol as a burning fuse about to reach the keg?

  14. Its hard to believe anyone actually believes judges are the least bit impartial. Every person under the sun is politically biased–none impartial. Its almost better for judges to be outspoken about their personal politics so those in the court room fully realize what they are dealing with.

    • Wayne Coogan, true, true and yet we can still find Judges who rise above their political beliefs and rule solely upon the facts in question and upon the law.
      This is the Hallmark of civilization.

      Please don’t ask me for proof or an example of the above in today’s Judiciary however, but it used to be so…

  15. “……..Its almost better for judges to be outspoken about their personal politics so those in the court room fully realize what they are dealing with……….”
    …….and for society to fire the ones who can’t manage to even appear impartial.

      • “Oops! There goes about half of the Supreme Court.”
        Of course. Conservative justices repeatedly submitted hateful letters to newspapers in Podunck, Illinois or some such. I’m certain you’ve cut out clippings of them, right? Please share, if you can somehow print them on your wifi network from your imagination.

    • Reggie, are you deceiving yourself by desiring your judge to have a false “appearance” of impartiality? Behold all the low-resolution commenters focusing on the “appearance” of this man’s hair. Classic logical fallacies.
      .
      Do public employees forfeit their right to express political opinions while off duty? Is a janitor working in city hall allowed to post public opinions in his private time… while a judge is not? If so, then a list of occupations and the extent to which they retain free speech rights must be pretty voluminous and complicated.
      .
      It occurs to me we should encourage free speech among public employees, including judges, so we can identify those we want to avoid interacting with. Or, at least when we do interact, the cards will be face up on the table.

  16. “Why didn’t the Alaska Bar Association discipline him sooner for judicial misconduct?”
    Ever check out the relationship between the American Bar Association, The National Trial Lawyers, and the Democrat Party?

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