Delegates to Alaska's Constitutional Convention adopted a Judiciary Article that called for the state's judges to be selected and retained in a merit selection system. Modeled after the "Missouri Plan," attorneys applying for judgeships are reviewed by the Judicial Council; two or more candidates are nominated to the governor; the governor appoints from the Council's list; and all judges periodically stand for retention in the general elections. Alaska's Judicial Council is composed of three non-attorneys appointed by the governor and confirmed by the legislature, three attorneys appointed by the Alaska Bar Board of Governors, and the Chief Justice who serves ex officio. All appointed members serve staggered six-year terms and are appointed with due consideration for area representation and without regard to political affiliation. This article draws on Council minutes, reports, and other materials to describe the Council's selection process, and how it has evolved since the first days of statehood. The authors evaluate the effectiveness of the process using objective measures, including outcomes of retention elections. Finally, the article concludes with considerations for possible changes to make the process better suited to the Council's increasing work load and the needs of applicants and others participating in judicial selection.
Teri White Carns & Susie Mason Dosik, Alaska’s Merit Selection Of Judges: The Council’s Role, Past And Present, 35 Alaska Law Review 177-204 (2018)
Available at: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/alr/vol35/iss2/6