We’ve been inundated with questions about how to vote on the long list of 29 Alaska judges up for retention this year. Like past elections, there is precious little information about these men and women, and that’s by design.

While the Alaska Judicial Council posts an analysis of the judges, it contains nothing about their judicial philosophy or actual rulings. They don’t want voters to know where judges stand on issues like abortion, school choice, election integrity, free speech, religious liberty, parental rights, medical freedom or any other important issue. Instead, the Judicial Council focuses on “temperament, diligence, and administrative skills,” none of which tells you anything about whether they are traditional constitutionalists or radical activists.

Not surprisingly, the Judicial Council says all of its handpicked judges should be retained by voters this year.

The reality is that most of these judges lean decidedly left. That’s because the seven-member Alaska Judicial Council is comprised of four attorneys from the left-leaning Alaska Bar Association. This lawyers union controls who gets to be a judge.

According to Alaska’s Constitution, whenever a judicial vacancy appears, the Judicial Council must pick and send at least two candidates to the governor for him to select a replacement. No one else has any say over who these two candidates are. If the governor doesn’t like either one, too bad. He must pick one.

Some states have governors nominate judges and legislators approve or reject them. Others make judges run for election like any other public servant. In Alaska, the four-member majority on the Judicial Council has all the power.

In past elections, the Watchman spent hours researching judges in an effort to give voters some sense of how they ruled and what their judicial philosophy was. In the end, it hasn’t ever made any difference. Judges are always easily retained. The only time voters ever removed a judge was in 2018 when they ousted Superior Court Judge Michael Corey who oversaw the well-publicized sentencing of no jail time for a man who assaulted an Alaska Native woman.

But even if voters were to reject an activist judge, his replacement would come from the very same ideological well – the Alaska Judicial Council.

The only way to address the problem of activist judges is to change the way they are selected. Since there is very little chance the Alaska Legislature will give Alaskans a chance to vote on a constitutional amendment, we are left with one option – a statewide constitutional convention.

When it comes to voting on judges this year, we have just one suggestion – vote “yes” on a constitutional convention. It’s the only way to get to the root of the problem.

Click here to support the Alaska Watchman.

With 29 Alaska judges on the ballot, only one vote matters

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.


  • Neil DeWitt says:

    I like this “YES” on ballot measure #1. Oh and a good way to get rid of tge dead weight judges vote no on retention and let’s start over with a new bunch of untrained beholding to nobody judges. I think a Yes on One is faster and way better in the long run..

  • Paola Estrada says:

    Why do you want untrained judges?

    • Lobo says:

      “trained” by whom ?.. Their education, and legal practices typically direct their judicial actions.

    • Reggie Taylor says:

      All new judges are “untrained”, because there is no training program……..unless you’re referring to the inside machinations of the Alaska Association of Justice, the Alaska chapter of the former Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Do you like a lawyers guild having complete power over one of the three branches of government?

  • Lobo says:

    I agree, Neil.. The ash can for the activist judges.

  • Now We Are Two says:

    Thank you for this article Joel. This is the only actual news I’ve ever read on this terrible situation AK face regarding judges. Thanks again.

    • Sally M Pollen says:

      A great article, Joel Davidson! You explained it beautifully. As I was voting No on all the judges today (and YES on the Con con) the thought came to me that I don’t know a single person who votes to retain judges, but year after year they all keep their seats. But as you indicated, even if a judge was not retained, the replacement would come from the tiny stagnant gene pool of the Alaska Judicial Council. It seems to be a locked up group like a secret society.

  • Pamela Sue says:

    Sensible solution!

  • Mark T. says:

    Joel —who refuses to spell out his journalistic experience and journalistic awards- you misunderstand that judges rule by the law, not by your partisan-preferred stances. These are not partisan legislators. They are non-partisan rulers of existing law.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      Mark T., it is amazing how the left always accuses the right of what the left is actually doing. Thank you for spelling it out.

      Vote “Yes” on a Constitutional Convention and Vote “No” on retention of every judge.

    • Reggie Taylor says:

      “……They are non-partisan rulers of existing law.”
      Now, that right there is funny. Hilarious. It’s almost incredible that somebody would even try to pass a statement like that after the past three quarters of a century of judicial adventure, as if anybody reading it was born yesterday.

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    Constitutional convention yes.

  • Trained Observer says:

    I have always been curious why the Judicial Council was given authority to select their own and bypass input from the people they serve. This goes against every tenet of the three branches of governance, where the people are the stake holders and determine the makeup of the judiciary. This Alaskan experiment is a bust and must be changed. I personally support something that mirrors the US Constitution, where the Governor makes judicial recommendations for the Legislature to confirm through a process that involves public testimony and questioning of a candidate and voter input to their State Representatives. It may be more expensive and time consuming, but I’d rather spend money and time being selective of our judiciary than to live by the decisions they hand down which are more costly to both freedom and treasure. Until I can vote on the makeup of the judiciary, I’ll vote NO on retention of every judge named and YES on BM#1

  • Randon American says:

    I make it a point to vote NO on ALL Judges. They are not true citizens of America as they enforce oppressive laws from England upon us. And, as I recall, that’s the very damn reason we fled England in the first place.

  • Reggie Taylor says:

    “…….When it comes to voting on judges this year, we have just one suggestion – vote “yes” on a constitutional convention. It’s the only way to get to the root of the problem.”
    There us no guarantee of anything even if a constitutional convention is approved. Indeed, that’s the very reason why so many fear and oppose such a measure. We already have the power to vote to retain all judges. The problem is that voters are morons. The passage if ranked choice voting proves it, not to mention the fact that in over 60 years, just a single judge has been rejected by voters on a retention vote.
    Just vote “no” on judges. All of them. Every time. Unfortunately, there is certainly no shortage of lawyers to take their places.

  • Alaskan56 says:

    There was a call from a federal prisoner into the Dan F. show this morning – which was very enlightening – concerning the history of the ‘Judicial Council’ and their control of the State under the current Alaska Constitution. If Dan was not so very impressed and stuck on the subject and the reason the criminal was in prison, IF Dan F. had allowed him to provide more experiential conversation concerning the SUBJECT OF THE JUDICIAL MAFIA RULING THIS STATE – we would have an additional opportunity to be educated as to a judicial REASON to VOTE FOR the Constitutional Convention.
    My hopes are that this individual, who was calling from where he is incarcerated (limited time for the call) make the attempt again to educate Alaskans about the corruption of the Judicial Mafia. They’ve had their stranglehold on our state for far too long. It’s very ugly.

  • Michael Johnson says:

    Easy solution, vote no on all judges and yes on a Constitutional Convention so we can get control over leftist judges who abuse their authority.

  • NAV says:

    If you care about the State vote OUT ALL liberal progressive judges NOW!!!!!

  • B. Arnold says:

    A little information about judges appearing on the 2022 Alaska election ballot:

  • Jim Scott says:

    NO on every judge. “Nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”