The State of Alaska filed a brief on June 17 in its appeal of the Alaska Superior Court’s opinion last month, which ruled that the state-funded correspondence study program was unconstitutional – a decision that has sent more than 23,000 homeschoolers and dozens of correspondence programs into a state of confusion and uncertainty.

AK Deputy Attorney General Cori Mills

“Striking down a duly enacted statute as unconstitutional is a serious and extraordinary exercise of the  judicial power,” the state brief argues, adding that an unconstitutional ruling “frustrates the intent of the elected representatives of the people,” and “requires that we exercise our duty to declare a statute unconstitutional.”

The state is asking the Alaska Supreme Court to completely reverse Anchorage Superior Court Judge Adolf Zeman’s ruling due to its failure to properly apply the standard for holding that a statute is facially unconstitutional.

“This standard recognizes that even if a statute ‘as applied’ in some situations ‘might be unconstitutional,’ the judiciary must respect the law’s permissible applications and not simply throw the good out with the bad,” the brief states. “There are more refined tools – including a properly filed as-applied challenge – that allow courts to ‘avoid interfering with the lawmaking process any more than is necessary.’”

Alaska’s Deputy Attorney General Cori Mills called the lower court ruling an “absurdity.”

“For decades, State money has been spent on correspondence schools using private vendors to ensure students who don’t (or can’t) attend a traditional neighborhood school still have access to a top-quality public education,” Mills said in a prepared statement. “The lower court’s decision upended that decades-long precedent, ignoring the vast majority of constitutional spending on educational materials and services purchased by parents to support their child’s public education.”

Attorney Elbert Lin

The state has teamed up with a non-profit legal organization who reached out on the case offering legal support for free.

“The absurdity of the decision has garnered national attention, so much so that First Liberty, a non-profit legal organization, experienced in constitutional issues, reached out to the state to offer legal assistance on a pro bono basis,” Mills noted. “With the understanding that the state is firmly in the driver’s seat on what and how this case is argued, it seemed prudent to take the offer of free help from other legal experts. Between the team of lawyers within the department, the expertise of Mr. Elbert Lin, and the pro bono assistance, the state has a deep bench of high-quality lawyers on its side to ensure the Alaska Supreme Court has the benefit of hearing the strongest and best arguments on behalf of the State and all the families impacted by the lower court’s decision.”

Attorney Elbert Lin, of the law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth, has been collaborating with the state on the case. He has experience working for and with other state attorneys general on education matters and on cases defending state laws from constitutional challenges, as well as experience arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court. The state has asked Lin to take the lead in arguing the case before the State Supreme Court.

“I have been honored to participate in this important case for Alaska since its inception, working with highly experienced attorneys at the Alaska Attorney General’s Office,” Lin stated. “Having worked in the West Virginia Attorney General’s office for several years, I have great admiration for the work of assistant attorneys general who choose public service careers. Although I worked behind the scenes in the superior court, I’ve been asked to take the lead role at the Alaska Supreme Court, working in close collaboration with the team assigned to provide the best representation possible for the State of Alaska and the Department of Education & Early Development. I have enjoyed our collaboration and look forward to arguing the case at the end of June.”

Oral argument is set for 10 a.m. June 27. Read the state’s full reply brief here.

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State asks Alaska Supreme Court to reverse ruling against homeschool programs

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:

    The only real reason this is going to court is that the WOKE democratic agenda can’t be forced on all the young kids. Anchorage last year seen how fast almost half of the parents pulled kids out of Anchorage school’s to teach at home because of the WOKE Agenda. It is so sad we are force in today’s age to have to home school and for such a poor reason. It’s time Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks gets with the program and puts this WOKE crap to bed. Less than half of the people in Alaska want it. They shouldn’t be controlling the rest of us. It’s time to give it up! It has failed.

  • Me says:

    the ruling was that the state could not use state funds on private organization. like Unions, religious establishment, prive schools and private contractors for maintenance, or any third party. so the state employees have to do everything them selves. so the state has to sue. it’s violating the law right now along with all the school districts. they’ll tried to manipulate the law so that it doesn’t address the issue at hand. look the other way that it’s illegal. The judge has spoken. no state funds to private organization for education.

  • Citizenkane says:

    Alaska State Constitution: Article VII Section 1: “ Schools and institutions so established shall be free of sectarian control”.
    The NEA is in fact a “ sectarian” entity. They brought this lawsuit despite having no “standing” in our school system. The NEA is forbidden from representing Alaska school teachers by the above clause in the constitution. Their lawsuit is an attempt to exercise “sectarian control. The State Attorney General must sue to decertify the NEA’s “ sectarian control” over our schools.

  • John J Otness says:


  • Amanda Wraith says:

    Thank you for your continued coverage of this important process!