ANCHORAGE – The ACLU of Alaska will be back in court on Tuesday fighting against Governor Michael Dunleavy’s unconstitutional court system vetoes. The Nov. 5, 2019 oral arguments are the next step in the fight to protect the Alaska Constitution and the integrity of the state’s independent judiciary.
Arguments will begin at 3 p.m. in Boney Courthouse room 30. ACLU of Alaska Legal Director Stephen Koteff will represent the ACLU of Alaska in the Tuesday court proceedings.
“This isn’t just a squabble between two branches of government. This brazen, unprecedented act from Governor Dunleavy erodes the constitutional guarantee of the separation of powers, which is a hallmark of a democratic society,” Koteff said. “The great magnitude of public significance in this case is glaring. If we don’t check this now, and we allow the Governor to openly abuse his power, our liberty, democracy, and our core system of checks and balances will be gravely compromised.”
The ACLU of Alaska filed suit against Governor Dunleavy in July after he imposed a $334,700 veto against the Alaska Court System in retaliation for the Alaska Supreme Court’s defense of a woman’s constitutionally protected right to choose. This attempt to strong-arm the Alaska judiciary through financial coercion attacks the state’s deep commitment to an independent judiciary, violates Alaska’s constitutional separation of powers, illegally reallocates budget appropriations, and threatens the rights of women and low-income Alaskans.
“It doesn’t matter if the veto was $1 or $1 million, the executive branch’s punitive assault on the judicial branch diminishes public confidence in the judiciary,” ACLU of Alaska Executive Director Joshua Decker said. “It is the Court’s prerogative to weigh the law, without fear of retribution from the executive branch. The ACLU of Alaska will not allow this sort of brazen and vindictive political power play to stand. We will continue to fight to correct the injustice that has been served upon our state from its own governor.”