A new bill introduced by Rep. Christopher Kurka (R-Wasilla) looks to reduce some of the extraordinary power which the left-leaning Alaska Bar Association has in determining who’s qualified to practice law or become a judge in Alaska.

Essentially, Kurka’s House Bill 194 aims to reform the way people are selected to serve on the Alaska Bar Association Board of Governors, a body that controls the majority of Alaska Judicial Council which vets all judicial candidates that the governor can choose from in filling judicial vacancies, including those on the Alaska Supreme Court.

“It is simply unacceptable that the Alaska Bar Association is essentially a self-regulating body,” Kurka said in a prepared statement. “The Alaska Bar Association has complete control over the selection of judges in the State of Alaska. It escapes me why we would turn over control of an entire branch of State government to a private lawyers club.”

Currently, Alaska Bar Association membership elects nine of the 12 members of the Board of Governors which, among other things, serves as the gatekeeper for occupational licensing for the practice of law in Alaska. It also has a permanent controlling majority on the seven-member Alaska Judicial Council that determines which candidates the governor can choose from among when appointing new judges. The other three members of the Judicial Council are appointed by the governor and subject to legislative confirmation.

Kurka’s bill looks to provide a measure of accountability to the public by shifting the selection process for who gets to sit on the Board of Governor’s away from the Alaska Bar Association itself and instead allowing the governor to select members who would then be subject to legislative confirmation.

“No branch of government should be unaccountable to the people,” Kurka said. “Such constructions lend themselves to corruption and cronyism. There might be a place for the Good ‘Ole Boys Club, but it’s not in state government.”

HB 194 is currently in the House Judiciary Committee.

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Bill aims to curtail Alaska Bar Association’s ‘unacceptable’ power over selection of judges

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.


  • Steve Peterson says:

    This is so overdue!
    Clearly they answer to no one but themselves, and therefore get away with whatever “rulings” they feel should trump legislation as based on their leftist interpretation. They don’t actually have that power, and they need to be called on it.

  • John J. Otness says:

    Balance not dominance… the scales of justice were melted down and hocked for a six pack. And while we are at it lets not allow this Leftist propaganda PBS to control our tax payer funded medium . Zero conservative input and outflow makes a mockery of this so called state channels label of Public.

  • Mike Moore says:

    It’s about time someone has looked into the Judicial System in this state. Over twenty years ago I worked in the court system in other states and was shocked to see how the system worked in Alaska. They have way to much discretionary power at every level and not just the selection of Judges, but the discretionary powers Judges make from the bench is not acceptable. We the people make the laws, and judges are no more than referees in the battle between the Prosecution and Defense. We have given them the power of Solomon to determine and Order THEIR opinions as to what the outcome should be. The laws should be written in a manner that dictates what a judge will do or not do, not leave it up to them to decide. Not a what a Judge MAY do, or left to the discretion of the court to determine. They are not all knowing, and often make decisions that require medical, psychological, or decisions on other areas they are not experts in, and therefore it is unjust based factual information. Judges in Alaska are empowered to ignore expert testimony or evidence, and make their own decisions at present. This Bill is definitely a step in the right direction!

  • Ruth Ewig says:

    Up here in Fairbanks we have no First Amendment lawyers who even stand up for the Rule of Law. The lawyers are trained in the government-run law schools where lawyers are told that we operate under a living Constitution and not the rule of law. The law schools and lawyers who graduate from the government ones are already corrupt. They then nominate and vote for other lawyers like themselves and not those with integrity and moral standards who would rule under the US Constitution and Rule of Law and declaration of Independence. Our law system is based on The Ten Commandments but that is buried history. Lawyers like my brother go by the trends not a stable measuring stick for “We the People…” Each rules the way he/she wants to according to “social justice.” Each lawyer and judge can decide and not our “manual,” the Constitution.
    The judges should never have appointed themselves to rule over the legislative or executive. This needs to be stopped by the legislature so that “We the People” have a say in the system.

  • Christopher Michael says:

    Even better We The People restore our ENTIRE system of ‘government ‘ employees that have become taken over by a foreign corporate takeover being perpetrated against We, join your neighbors as We Assembly, members all over Alaska and about to have the first de jure Common Law Court held, are you willing to do the very minimum to hold accountable our servants by serving on a jury of your peers? and all states are in process of Assembly, We canceled the Act of 1871 by direct Order issued out of Michigan General Jural Assembly…. see and learn our real deal history and remedy,
    Blessings in Christ my brothers and sisters as we Assemble