Senate Joint Resolution 21 (SJR 21), Constitutional Amendment to the Alaska Judicial Council, went to the Senate floor last Friday, April 4. Since then the Senate Majority Leadership has held the resolution over attempting to secure one additional vote.
SJR 21 proposes to amend Alaska’s Constitution to increase the number of members on the Alaska Judicial Council, which screens and nominates judicial candidates. AFN recently passed a resolution opposing SJR 21, as it would create numerous problems for the Council, including, without limitation, a politicized non-attorney membership that is philosophically and politically aligned with the governor. SJR 21 will also tilt the balance in favor of the non-attorneys appointed by the governor, and likely result in the more conservative judges on Alaska’s bench. Historically, conservative judges have been less sympathetic to Alaska Native Tribes, tribal organizations, and individual Alaska Natives subjected to Alaska’s criminal or civil judicial system.
SJR 21 will likely go up for a vote tomorrow.
You can help AFN oppose SJR 21, by contacting Senator Bishop at Senator.Click.Bishop@akleg.gov, thanking him for opposing SJR 21, and encouraging him to “hold the line” against SJR 21.
Senator Bishop needs to hear from the Alaska Native community, so please help AFN “flood” his inbox with messages.
You are also encourage to contact Senator Stevens and Senator Stedman and tell them you oppose SJR 21.Senator.Bert.Stedman@akleg.gov