By MICHAEL CHAMBERSAlaska Freedom Alliance

“All political power is inherent in the people. All government originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the people as a whole.”Article 1, Section 2 of the Alaska Constitution

In Alaska, a portion of our state constitution sets up an elite selection process to appoint judges which is in direct conflict with Article 1, Section 2 of our State Constitution.

The Judicial Council is the entity which is tasked to select judges and then have them appointed by the governor, thus foregoing the process of any involvement of “We the People.” This body is a direct conflict with our State Constitution as it sidesteps the “Will of the People,” and grants power to a select few.

The Judicial Council is composed of three lawyers seated by the Alaska Bar Association, the sitting Alaska Supreme Court Justice and three members of the public selected by the governor.

Many times, the Judicial Council only forward a few, select nominees to the governor and the governor is tasked with a limited time constraint, by law, to make the selection. This gives, even the governor, very little or NO ability to make a selection. It is a stacked deck which favors the majority on the Judicial Council composed of a majority of members of a private lawyers guild. 

Only after the judges have been approved by the governor do these judges come before “We the People” as a question of retention on the general election ballot, but it should be noted that 99% of all judges up for retention are retained. This is merely window dressing to give an air of voter involvement.

The Missouri Plan promotes the concept that citizens are not equipped with the knowledge to make informed decisions.

In other words, an unelected body of “experts” are better suited to make these decisions with the better interests of “We the People” in mind (as if they have no bias). 

Three Fundamental Principles The Missouri Plan Violates

So, what did Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson say regarding “appointing” a judiciary?

During the general election on Nov. 8, the voters of Alaska will be asked to vote on a Constitutional Convention.

There are a multitude of reasons to affirm a YES vote but if the only reason is to vacate the Missouri Plan and give the responsibility of the judicial branch back to “We The People,” this is reason enough.

Here at Alaska Freedom Alliance we ask you to vote YES and encourage you to get as many of your friends and neighbors to vote YES as well.

Dark money is flooding into Alaska from entities unknown in an effort to get you to vote NO. Is this our decision or the decision of outside monied interests?

Take ownership of what is rightfully yours. Give Alaska back to Alaskans and vote “yes” on Proposition 1.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

Michael Chambers is a founding member of Alaska Freedom Alliance. He was the past chairman of the Alaska Libertarian Party, and currently serves as vice-chair of the Alaskan Independence Party. He also serves as a facilitator for Alaska Covid Alliance which fights for early treatment of Covid and medical freedoms for all Alaskans.

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OPINION: Is Alaska’s method of selecting judges unconstitutional?


  • Neil DeWitt says:

    Thank you for this article. Finally someone with guts enough to fight back. I agree, we need to have a Con. Con. and set yhr record straight. I am voting YES on prop #1 just because the democrats don’t want it and are afraid what they are going yo have to face. Funny who pipes up the loudest when it comes time to pay the piper!

  • Lobo says:

    I will be voting for a Con. Con. and I will also be voting yes on Prop 1.. Sitting judges, and lawyers, should have absolutely no say as to the selections, and confirmations of potential judgeships.. If the democrats are against it, that in it’s self, should give some idea as to how to vote… It would also be nice to see the rigged voting issues addressed.

  • Clark says:

    You guys don’t seem to understand that those two sections aren’t in conflict at all. The fact that all those judges have to be retained every so many years means the PEOPLE are the ones with the say. If the PEOPLE did not want them to keep their jobs, they would get ousted.

    The fact that 99% of judges get retained is evidence that the system already works darn near perfectly. The people approve of 99% of the panel’s choices. If you dont like the way a judge is ruling, you can run a campaign against them to get them voted out. It has happened before and therefore can happen again.

    It means they are subject to the oversight of the people. The system blatantly holds them accountable to the people of Alaska.
    That negates basically your entire argument.

    A convention would destroy our constitution. For all you know, you could lose the right to vote or politicians could gain the power to ignore your votes. Your religious freedoms could be eroded, and we could all lose our rights to privacy. Outside dark money would flood Alaska attempting to manipulate the vote at every step along the way. Politicians votes will be bought and you won’t have a say at all.

    • Lobo says:

      The politicians do not ratify any amendments to the constitution.. The people make the decisions, and I find it interesting, over the years, how many fear the voices of the people.. I find it interesting that some still are mistaken, and confused on exactly how the judges are seated, and retained.

    • Steven C says:

      A Constitutional Convention will not destroy the State Constitution as it will still have to be voted on by, We the People. If you think that the voting for retention of Judges is a good thing, then the same can be said about voting on the Amendments that come forth from the Convention. Retention of Judges voting is the least thing on the citizens mind when they go into a voting booth and good majority of them are not as informed when it comes to Judges because their agenda is hidden from the general public unless one takes an active role and researching the issues and the people on the ballot. This has borne out in the acceptance of the stupid Rank Choice Voting because to many uninformed citizens did not understand the process when voting. That bore out in the special election when Peltola won with only 40% of the first-place votes thus she was not the preferred candidate and won by violating the general principles our Country was founded on 1 person 1 vote.

    • Trained Observer says:

      At face value when you see that 99% of judges are retained, it might indicate that the judiciary make up and continuity reflect the will of the people. Another look also reveals that there is very little information on any of these judges and in all likelihood, most of the voters in Alaska have very little interaction with any of these judges, with the exception of victims, defendants, and employees of the court system. There used to be a “court Beat” much like a “police beat” in local papers of a bygone era, keeping those who took the paper better informed on such matters, not to mention who was tried, convicted or sued, and who presided. Occasionally we’ll hear of a rogue judge being called out and they might be “unretained” because a group of citizens thought highly enough to make the judge’s misdeeds known and keeping the name high on the public’s mind to remind them just before a retention election. The fact is that most folks don’t have any idea what the judiciary is up to. The media does a pretty good job of keeping the citizenry distracted with garbage over substance. When trials are publicized, the focus is mostly on the jury and not the judge in a ruling over guilt versus innocence. But the judge determines what testimony the jury hears, evidence they see and instructs the jury on how to deliberate. If there is anything negative regarding judicial conduct it comes from the parties and is rarely covered by the press. The main point to this is that we have voter nullification when it comes to elections in Alaska. The Department of Elections is not consistent with providing election material to the voters and what is received is written by lawyers, and little of it includes history or background on judges. The typical voter will check the yes box if they don’t have information on a non-partisan candidate voter referendums and propositions, including bond measures. But judges are anything but non-partisan. I think the recent vote to fill the Alaska Chief Justice seat is evidence of that, when a clearly qualified and fair “conservative” judge was excluded by the liberal make-up of the judicial panel and involved the opinion of the outgoing judge to weigh in. Also, the recent Grand Jury dust up regarding judicial corruption on the Kenai. But those are extremes and the day to day is where these issues begin. Most folks don’t want to upset the applecart but vote anyway. The fact is most voters don’t know their voting district, who their representatives are, attend meet and greets with their representatives, or who the judges are is in their district. They get their education in the voting booth instead of the voter’s pamphlet. Most are looking for ways to avoid jury duty and in Alaska the privilege is extended to registered voters only as a civic duty. Could be why voter rolls are skewed. Jury duty should be based on PFD recipient rolls to spread the privilege and help reduce nullification. As the saying goes, “We get the government we deserve.” If we fail to take interest in the process but only complain, yet still fail to become involved in the process to alter the outcome, then the saying is true, the people have spoken, and the government will rule them without their ‘descent.’

  • Joe Drayton says:

    Excellent article!
    Constitutional Convention is a Yes.
    Public selection through elected officials for Judge appointments is enough of a reason. Model it after the Federal process, so you do not have to reinvent the wheel.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    I agree that this judge selection process needs to be addressed. It should be We The People who select the judges through voting. I will be voting “Yes” for a Constitutional Convention also to work on giving the power back to The People.

  • Jon and Ruth Ewig says:

    We will be voting for the Con.Con. We have not been able to get good conservative, sensible bills passed into law or unfair decisions thrown out, like pro-life bills. voter integrity bills, and this “ranked File” voting removed. (We suspect that it will be proven to be unlawful.) There are other well-written lawsuits and legislative bills that have been obstructed by the judiciary “overreach” taking over the other two branches. These leftists are being directed by specific lobbyists and groups such as the NEA, that lean to the left. The judges we need to have appointed are those who are “Originalists”. Believe it or not they exist. Not the judges and lawyers who follow “the living constitution” created by a progressive judge. We are praying for this referendum/resolution to pass so that we can have ” justice for all.”

  • Andy says:

    The way the scamdemic was handled was a total farce and made it perfectly clear where each of our elected officials stand, and suddenly thier true colors shined through, we got to see what they were truly made of, a few took a stand against tyranny and paid a price, this is why I’m supporting the constitutional convention, our elected officials don’t have a spine.

  • Jim Minnery says:

    Great article. Remember too that the original Alaska state constitutional members asked for consultants from the Lower 48 to advise them on their proposed judicial selection process. The report, as described in Vic Fischer’s book on our Constitution, said they had never seen a state constitution give so much power to a private bar association and even called it “dangerous”. That report was never shown to the full delegation. Let the people decide! Vote YES on Ballot Measure 1. Vote YES on a Constitutional convention!