Alaska’s chief justice to face Legislature amid ongoing dispute over abortion funding


    Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court Joel Bolger will address the full Alaska Legislature on Feb. 17 when he delivers the annual “State of the Judiciary” at 11 a.m. in the Senate Chamber.

    This will be Bolger’s final address to the Legislature as he is set to retire this summer. His pending speech comes after yet another cantankerous year between the three branches of government, and there may be more battles on the horizon.

    Last month, Gov. Mike Dunleavy complied with a Superior Court order that he restore $334,700 which he vetoed from the state courts’ 2020 budget – the exact amount the Supreme Court ordered the state to pay abortionists for killing 805 babies in 2018. The court mandate came in spite of the fact that the Legislature specifically stated that no money from the budget could be used to fund elective abortions.

    Bolger’s address also comes at a time when the Legislature is considering a bill that would grant it power to approve all new judges to the appellate and district courts.

    Additionally, Senate Joint Resolution 2 proposes a constitutional amendment requiring that the Legislature approve all new members selected by the Alaska Bar Association to sit on the Alaska Judicial Council, a powerful seven-member group that decides which applicants a governor can choose from among when appointing judges, including those for the Alaska Supreme Court. This issue could come into play when Bolger retires this summer.

    Another bill, which directly challenges the Alaska Supreme Court in its insistence that the state pay for elective abortions, is Senate Joint Resolution 4. It aims to amend the State Constitution by stating: “To protect human life, nothing in this constitution may be construed to secure or protect a right to an abortion or require the State to fund an abortion.”

    Click here to watch Chief Justice Bolger’s address on Feb. 17 at 11 a.m.

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    Joel Davidson
    Joel Davidson
    Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.

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