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