The Alaska Judicial Council is taking applications for a position on the Alaska Supreme Court. A seat on the five-member high court will be open this summer with the upcoming retirement of Chief Justice Joel Bolger.

Justice Bolger pic
Alaska Chief Justice Joel Bolger

Those interested in becoming a Supreme Court justice must have their applications sent to the Alaska Judicial Council by 3 p.m. on Jan. 8, 2021.

Applicants should be familiar with Alaska law, procedure and trial practice and meet the qualifications for a judge set out in Alaska Statute (AS 22.05.070).

Qualified applicants must be a citizen of the United States and the State of Alaska, a resident of Alaska for the past five years, and licensed to practice law in the state. Applicants must also be engaged in the active practice of law for at least eight years proceeding appointment. Active practice includes any of the following:

  • Sitting as a judge in a state or territorial court.
  • Engaged in advising and representing clients in matters of law.
  • Rendering legal services to an agency, branch or department of a civil government in the United States. This may be in an elective, appointed or employed capacity.
  • Serving as a professor in a law school accredited by the American Bar Association.

All applications will be reviewed by the seven-member Alaska Judicial Council, as proscribed by Alaska’s Constitution. The council consists of three attorneys from the Alaska Bar Association, three people appointed by the governor and the chief justice of the Alaska Supreme Court.

Each applicant must complete a detailed questionnaire on their personal and professional history and must submit a writing sample and references.

The Judicial Council will review these materials, ask for public comment, review professional histories of the applicants and solicit a review of the applicants from members of the Alaska Bar Association.

The Judicial Council will then meet in May to conduct a public hearing and interview applicants. At the end of the interviews they will deliberate behind closed doors and vote on which names to forward to the governor. At the very least, two candidates must be sent to the governor who then has 45 days to select the new Supreme Court judge from this list.

For more information, contact the Judicial Council at 510 L Street, Suite 450, Anchorage, Alaska 99501, or call (907) 279-2526.

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Applications open: Who will be Alaska’s next Supreme Court judge?

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.


  • Vicki Riendl says:

    This Judge selection process leaves the Alaskan people out of the loop while judges impact our lives in a very big way, this is wrong. It’s time to make a change as activist judges are everywhere these days and are destroying the fabric of our constitution and way of life.

  • The Governor needs to encourage constitutional conservatives to apply, with the explicit understanding that he will only appoint a new justice who shares this philosophy. If the Judicial Council refuses to submit a nominee with this attitude, he must pledge to leave the vacancy unfilled, pending the gubernatorial election of 2022. Let this be an issue in the election.