AK Supreme Court pic

Despite a grassroots effort to unseat a number of liberal Alaska judges, all 22 appear to have kept their seats on the bench.

Justice Susan Carney

The most prominent contest involved an organized campaign to remove Alaska Supreme Court Justice Susan Carney. She was accused of legislating from the bench in her decisions to mandate that the state pay for elective abortions, upholding Gov. Bill Walker’s veto of a portion of the Permanent Fund Dividend and siding with the majority of the high court to gut key provisions from Alaska’s sex-offender registry law.

Despite the push to have her ousted from the Supreme Court, Carney appears to have retained her seat by a wide margin. With 82% of precincts reporting Carney enjoyed a nearly 23,000 vote lead over her detractors and was winning by a 57% to 42% margin.

The other judges who were up for retention were also ahead by solid margins, taking anywhere from 53% to 67% of the vote in various retention elections.

The Alaska Watchman published information on 12 of the 22 judges, recommending that only three be retained – Superior Court Judge Paul Roetman, Superior Court Judge Pamela Washington and District Court Judge David Wallace.

In the days leading up to the election, Carney waged an active campaign to keep her seat and many members of the Alaska Bar Association came to her defense – writing letters to the editor and op-ed pieces in various Alaska publications.

Those who opposed Carney included an organization called Alaskans for Judicial Reform, which encompassed a prominent group of business owners, mayors, pastors, attorneys and former legislators. They argued that Carney’s record of legislating from the bench was a clear violation her office.

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Alaska judges survive judgement day

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • PtRe2112 says:

    That’s interesting. By default, my wife and I decided to vote no for every judge by default because from our point of view it was the only way to clean out the corruptness. The only caveat for me personally was judge wallace. He has a special place in my heart. Back in 2011-2012 when I first left the military before I was a christian I was having alot of issues. I don’t know if they still do it, but back then they had this thing called vet court and he was the presiding judge. It included a year of therapy and showing up to court once a week and talking to the judge among other things. The idea was to rehabilitate ones self. It wasn’t an easy process, but for me it was effective. I am now happily married with 4 children and about to achieve an engineering degree. I don’t know if that would have been possible without Judge Wallace. I didn’t read the watchman on this particular topic, but I have personal experience with this judge. Other than him though, yeah I voted them all a no. I assumed other alaskans would do the same.

  • Dav9 says:

    The voters pamphlet has the judicial council’s ‘advertisement’ on every judge’s page. Why does the council get to use the official pamphlet to influence the voters?