How does one explain Judge Jack McKenna’s outlandish decision against Rep. David Eastman? How can Gov. Mike Dunleavy justify his appointment of McKenna to the Superior Court? How can such appointments be prevented in the future?
McKenna is not stupid. He knows that, regardless of what one thinks of David Eastman, the Oath Keepers or their role in January 6th, Eastman is an American citizen, entitled to the protections of the United States Constitution, including the rights of free speech and association. McKenna also knows that if the Alaska Court System attempts to prevent Eastman from taking office that decision will be reversed in federal court.
McKenna is not attempting to damage Eastman politically. He knows he’ll be reelected on Nov. 8th. If this ruling has any effect on that election, it will help him. So what’s the point?
By this ruling, which has made national headlines, McKenna has inserted himself into the ongoing political campaign to discredit the Republican Party by associating it with the events of January 6th, and, by implication, with Donald Trump.
McKenna is not acting as a judge. He is assuming the role of a calculating political operative. He knows that if the election of 2022 is about Joe Biden, and his record, the Democrats will lose. But if, instead, it’s about Donald Trump, and Jan. 6th, they can win. Legally, McKenna’s ruling is inexplicable. Politically, it makes perfect sense.
So how can Gov. Dunleavy justify his elevation of McKenna to the Superior Court bench? Alaska’s Constitution vests in him, as Governor of Alaska, the power of judicial appointments. But as he has painfully learned in the past four years, this power is illusory. Judicial appointments can only be made of candidates who have been approved by the Alaska Judicial Council, which is controlled by the three members appointed by the Alaska Bar Association. They, along with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, have a majority on the Council. They refuse to approve any judicial candidate who does not share their judicial activist philosophy. As a result, Alaska’s judiciary is entirely dominated by ideological soul mates. The Alaska Supreme Court and Superior Courts are partisan, imperial, and unaccountable. And such they have been for over 40 years. It doesn’t matter who the people elect as their Governor. It’s out of his hands.
In the case of Jack McKenna, he was the least objectionable of the candidates Dunleavy was forced to choose from. One can only imagine how bad the other choices were. Until this system is changed, Alaskans can expect more Jack McKennas, and there’s nothing they can do about it.
Unless, of course, Alaska’s Constitution is amended, and the Alaska Bar Association’s control of the Judicial Council is eliminated. In the Alaska legislature, numerous efforts have been made over the years to propose such an amendment. But it’s been proven politically impossible to achieve the needed 2/3 supermajority required. The politicians in black robes who populate our judiciary have enough political allies in the legislature to prevent passage of such an amendment.
So what can be done? Fortunately, there is a solution in Article XIII, Section 3 of Alaska’s Constitution. It calls for a referendum, every ten years, on the question of calling a constitutional convention. This year, on November 8th, Alaskans can vote for Prop 1, calling a convention. If it passes, delegates to the Convention may, by majority vote, propose an amendment which would put an end to this judicial tyranny. If subsequently approved by the people, Alaska’s lawyers will no longer control the judiciary.
A grass roots campaign is being conducted on behalf of Prop 1 by ConventionYES. They are focused on putting the Permanent Fund Dividend in the Constitution, taking that power away from the legislature. Such an amendment can only be proposed by a convention. The legislature will never pass an amendment which strips it of power. Prop 1 will rise or fall on the question of the dividend, and its future.
But an unavoidable subsidiary issue is judicial reform, which likewise will only be proposed by a convention. If you are outraged by the political antics of Judge McKenna, you should not only vote yes on Prop 1, you should join the effort of ConventionYES. It will succeed if it can get its message heard. It’s hope vs. fear, reform vs. the status quo, the legal and political elites vs. the people.
[As you can tell from this article, Suzanne is a pistol.]