For months leading up to the Nov. 8 election, the Democratic party, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Alaska marshaled their collective resources to fight the statewide constitutional convention ballot measure. The one unifying factor among these groups was a desire to preserve Alaska’s practice of abortion on demand.

These pro-abortion activists were concerned that a constitutional convention would give Alaskans a opportunity to revisit the way Alaska selects its judges. As currently written the state constitution makes it nearly impossible to seat conservative leaning, constitutionalist judges. Those on the political left want it to stay that way in order to continue the current practice of abortion on demand as well as the public financial reimbursement, through Medicaid, to abortionists who kill pre-born babies.

Currently the seven-member Alaska Judicial Council has exclusive power to select who the governor can choose from when appointing judges. This unelected body, established 67 years ago at statehood, includes three members appointed by the governor and approved by the Legislature, three members appointed by the Alaska Bar Association, and the chief justice of the Alaska Supreme Court – also a member of the Bar.

Alaska’s current system does not remove political bias from judge selection, but gives all the power to seven unelected committee members to decide whether an applicant is worthy to sit on the bench.

Conservatives have long complained it’s nearly impossible to seat a constitutionalist judge because the left-leaning Bar Association always enjoys a 4-3 majority in the Judicial Council.

Many pro-life advocates saw the constitutional convention as providing an opportunity to ask Alaskans if they supported changing the judge selection process to include greater input from the people, the Legislature and the governor.

Upon learning that the ballot measure was losing about 30% to 70% on election night, the Alaska director for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, Rose O’Hara-Jolley, claimed the defeat of ballot measure 1 reveals that Alaskans believe “the right to abortion is key to what it means to be from Alaska.”

Her Nov. 10 statement added that she “couldn’t be more proud” of Alaskans and that Planned Parenthood is “dedicated to continuing our fight to make abortion even more accessible in our state.”

The ACLU of Alaska had similar praise for the vote, saying it will “keep politics out of the courtroom, government out of our business, and outside interests from determining our futures.”

The current system, however, does not remove political bias from judge selection. Rather, it gives all the power to seven unelected committee members to decide whether an applicant is worthy to sit on the bench.

Many other states allow voters to select judges directly, or they permit the governor to nominate someone, who must then be confirmed by the state legislature, similar to how things operate when the U.S. president nominates a federal judge.

Aside from voters calling a constitutional convention (a question which is only asked every 10 years), the only other ways to amend the state’s founding document is for a simple majority of the State Legislature to call a constitutional convention, or for two-thirds of the Legislature to approve a constitutional amendment ballot measure, which then goes before voters for final approval. The latter two options can be done at any time.

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Alaska abortion-on-demand activists delight in rejection of constitutional convention

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:

    With Rino Republicans that just got back into Juneau we have no chance in haties to get a 2/3rds vote. We can’t even get enough most of the time to veto a bill. I guess the Republicans didn’t ALL get out and vote or things might of been a little different. We’ll all now have to live with what we get.

    • James says:

      Things aren’t bad enough yet. But they’re gonna get a whole lot worse.

      • Sharon Alice Turner says:

        A bright spot in the darkness that is becoming a once great state: We get to keep Governor Dunleavy for another term (his Last). But if he stays a stalwart course he can ‘stonewall many of the California, New York-esque craziness.

  • brandon says:

    Why open a can of worms when we can’t even trust the voting system? I am against killing the unborn or having it funded by tax payers.. But I am not going to vote to potentially compromise what has been the standard for so long. If you want to open it up for one thing and hide the other hidden agendas.. I’d rather avoid the turd-shout all together.
    Maybe we can revisit when our elections have results that represent the people and not special interests.

  • Rebekah Lohnes says:

    Alot of Republicans I think just didn’t know. In my town the leaders at my church didn’t tell me, they probably didn’t know. And with flyers coming in the mail with conservative looking faces and comments about keeping our constitution safe from outside interests it sounds very conservative. Those flyers were very deceptive, for someone who doesn’t know. They had Dems with their babies and families, the church isn’t doing a very good job about beeping and bipping very loud…. On these vital issues. One lady managed to get a pic of the judges names and had someone find out their pre-born views, and put yes or no next to each, without this I would have had no idea on them either. And it’s the same with others, Alaska’s in general don’t know anything about these judges or what they stand for.

    • Steve says:

      That’s why it’s a NO vote for all judges. Make a point to let the power that be we will clean the court every election until we get an actual vote as to who cast their judgement on us! After the Alaska Judicial Council runs out of attorney to submit maybe they will see how futile it is to play their game.

      • Reggie Taylor says:

        YES! A campaign of no votes on all judges will definitely grab their attention, even if it only gets to the high 40% and doesn’t quite kick them out. We don’t need to take the dangerous chance of a complete constitutional re-write. Can the judges, and watch them squirm.

    • Sharon Alice Turner says:

      My attendance to one of our largest Anchorage churches this week was a huge, and sad let down! While it seems its pastor is really gung ho about us being ‘mavericks’ my experience upon follow up is opposite of stated goals. Why? Pastor seems eager, willing and able to step out of the boat.. but alas, his ‘church’ is hide- bound to a large ‘Convention” of churches that rule the roost same as when I was 12.. Now 76* . They missed the WORD on how from Genesis to Revelation, we women were “equal” and equally yoked even in marriage.. so I am going back to I am a saved, redeemed by grace Christian and I am the Church. great grandma, aka blessed Maverick* PS : Still fighting for sanctity of life as my foundation/ rock

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    A constitutional convention would have given the People the opportunity to get an issue put on the ballot for EVERYONE to vote on. Representatives would have been ones that the People selected. I would love to have been afforded the opportunity to have my vote counted on several of these issues.

    • Mary says:

      Exactly. We, the people need the right to vote on the items in our constitution WITHOUT dark/outside money clouding the issues. AND without judges/ legislature having the power to vetoe what We the People want and vote for. Yes, get rid of Dominion and all the other voter fraud opportunities. It is the legislatures job to see that the voter rolls are cleaned up, but they don’t!

  • W Redmond says:

    Basically because they want to recreationally fornicate and because they’re too lazy to use birth control, they want politicians and judges to make laws that absolve them from the guilt of killing unborn defenseless children. Of course right now its their body and the father has no say, or least only until they actually decide to have a baby then they pursue him for child support.

    • Truth Network says:

      Do you know a woman who has had an abortion? You might say no, because no doubt you are a Holy Man and nobody you know would “recreationally fornicate”. But you almost certainly *do* know a woman who has had an abortion. You just don’t know it because your throwing of stones in a glass house precludes any rational discussion.

      I know of a small number. One was raped by her minister while in college. Another had a badly disfigured fetus that would not have survived childbirth and would have risked the mother’s life. Neither were “recreationally fornicating”.

      • W Redmond says:

        Truth network? I think not. Should be call the “drama queen over reactors Network”. You’re a typical liberal you point out a few extreme specific cases and you want blanket protection from the federal government to sanction abortions on demand up to near term and you want the government to pay for them. The latest abortion ruling from the US Supreme court simply threw the issue back down to the states. Theres plenty of states that have your mentally were you can very easily go and kill and murder all the unborn babies right that you want to. All life is rare and precious right down to organic compounds. Take a look out into that black void we are flying through on this ball of dirt we call earth. This is the only ball of dirt for light years that any life what so ever on it

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Rest assured dunleavy and his useless leadership will pave the way into our demise

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    To bad the reply is missing under Sharon Alice turner’s remarks
    Here’s my comment
    Ru nuts