The powerful seven-member Alaska Judicial Council, which wields absolute control when determining who is deemed sufficiently qualified to serve as an Alaska judge, will hold a public hearing to give rank-and-file Alaskans a chance to weigh in who should be the next Alaska Supreme Court justice.

Seven attorneys and judges have applied to fill the vacancy on the high court, which will occur due to the forthcoming retirement of Chief Justice Daniel Winfree.

After hearing from Alaskans on Dec. 5, the council will hold private interviews with each candidate. It must then give Gov. Mike Dunleavy at least two candidates to select from. Alaska’s Constitution, gives the Judicial Council exclusive power to determine the list from which the governor can choose a replacement. He cannot select anyone outside of those recommendations.

The unelected Judicial Council 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.

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

Alaskans can weigh in on the seven applicants (see list below) on Dec. 5, 12:30 p.m., at the Boney Courthouse, Supreme Court Courtroom (303 K Street, Anchorage). Testimony can also be provided by calling 1-833-928-4610 (meeting ID: 844 6481 1777).


— Dani Crosby

— Paul A. Roetman

— Kate Demarest

— Aimee A. Oravec

— Jude Pate

— Margaret Paton Walsh

— Holly C. Wells

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Alaskans can offer opinions on 7 Supreme Court justice applicants

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.