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.

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.

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When ‘standing tall’ only goes so far

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.


  • Martin Tousignant says:

    The 2018 Congressional election proved that members with strong conservative voting records got reelected and members who straddled the fence got defeated by Democrats. If Gov. Dunleavy intends to remain in office, he needs to change course.

  • Pablo L samaniego says:

    I think the most important thing in a government is the division of powers this Governor is like a joke he put in the supreme Court a thief liar deceiver and criminal judge that is Henderson he need to answer the people not the courts people is who control the government not the conservatives or liberals we pay him nor the courts pay him

  • NAV says:

    Dunleavy subverted your Alaska state Constitution by way of the legislative body at his direction to give constitutional power to an unelected official (HHS) to be able to lock up the state at his direction in late fall don’t think for one minute it’s not coming!!! He then in the same bill was able to change how the PFD is calculated by which he will use it along with the stimulus money as his personal slush fund. He uses the same tactics as the USURPER obama in plausible deniability when it comes to who did what. Look at what he just did in Juneau lock down again, wear masks even if you take the shot. Murkowski and Sullivan are behind him and Murkowski is calling the shots at the direction of Washington!!!

  • Mongo Love Candy says:

    Constituency? He aint got no Constituency!

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    It’s to late for you Dunleavy
    Loser, I’m not voting for you again.

  • DoneWithIt says:

    Dunleavy – just another RINO Squish…

  • Jen says:

    No Governor can ‘stand tall’ alone in a Corrupt state government, unless he has billions of dollars-then he can’t be intimidated.
    Where were Alaskans Standing Tall in Febuary 2019 for Governor Dunleavy’s budget proposal?

  • Herman Nelson says:

    “Unelected judges”…? Hmmmm… Every time I go to vote, there is a litany of judges begging for retention on the ballots. I guess most voters don’t pay attention to this part of the ballot. I simply go down the list and ink out “NO” for retention on every one of them. It’s not that I don’t like them. Judges like politicians, sitting in office too long allows for corruption. Anybody remember Bev Cutler? She legislated from the bench. Heard way too many stories of divorces in which the male was screwed over. Now, a DA in Palmer likes coaching his witnesses and can’t show up with the correct evidence.

  • Jimbo says:

    I believe he is standing tall to get a Democrat elected. By not being a true conservative and not protecting our dividend, he will get 1/2 republican vote and whomever challenges him will get the other 1/2, thus allowing the Democrat to win. Sad but true.