Today’s extremely pointed column by Bob Bird calls out Gov. Dunleavy for a litany of grievances that many Alaskans have with his disinterest in defending core conservative values whenever it entails locking horns with the court.
Whether it be paying for transgender surgeries for fear of what the U.S. Supreme Court might say if he refuses, or forking over state funds to underwrite abortions because the Alaska Supreme Court says so, the governor has shown an unwillingness to challenge – or even test – judicial overreach.
It’s likely Dunleavy would find an army of ardent supporters if he stood up for the laws of the land, the State Constitution and the separation of powers.
We have three branches of government, but the only ones ever tested or challenged are the Legislature and the executive, and always by the judicial. Unelected judges order the Legislature to fund procedures and practices that they have not agreed to pay for. Executives, such as Dunleavy, are told to find money for abortions even when the Legislature rightfully refuses to fund them. And for this, Alaskans are rightly frustrated with a man who ran as a strong fiscal and social conservative, claiming he’d fight and “stand tall for Alaska.”
The only battles he seems willing to engage are those that involve filing lawsuits or supporting briefs in federal court – and then letting judges ultimately determine what he must do.
ALASKA WATCHMAN DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
In truth, as we have said many times at the Watchman, the governor was elected to be the executor of Alaska laws. When the Legislature passes laws stipulating that signatures are required for absentee ballots, or prohibiting state funded abortions, it is up to the governor to enforce these laws. If the courts say he cannot, they should be challenged. This occurs most directly when the governor sides with the Legislature and enforces the laws they pass, regardless of what activist judges may think otherwise.
What is the worst that might happen to Dunleavy? He could get impeached by the Legislature for following their own laws, or he might get removed from office through a popular vote of the people.
It’s likely, however, that Dunleavy would find an army of ardent supporters if he stood up for the laws of the land, the State Constitution and the separation of powers. That he does not, is the source of his rapidly eroding base.