Alaska judicial tyranny, 1982, and now?

Republican Governor Dunleavy will reapportion the state, and Democratic Alaska Supreme Court won’t like the result. Their political opponents, Republicans, will gain seats. They hope to see a Democrat elected Governor in 2022, and they want that Democrat to do the job. That way their Democratic allies in the legislature will gain power.

Forty years ago, it was the same — a Republican Governor (Hammond) and an election for governor coming up. Jay Rabinowitz didn’t want to rule Hammond’s plan unconstitutional. There would be no point to that, if Hammond was succeeded by another Republican. If a new Republican governor could fix Hammond’s basic plan, there would be no point to overturning it.

But if a Democrat won the election, that new Governor could start over, and gerrymander the state for the Democrats. So Justice Jay Rabinowitz didn’t issue a ruling. He took the case challenging Hammond’s plan under advisement, waiting on the results of the election. Sure enough, a Democrat won, and Rabinowitz decided Hammond’s plan had been unconstitutional all along, and gave Democratic Governor Bill Sheffield unfettered authority to reapportion the state.

As a result, I only served two years in the Alaska State Senate. Governor Sheffield gerrymandered me out of my seat. I’ve been pissed off about it ever since. And I’ll do what I can to see that it doesn’t happen again.

2 thoughts on “Alaska judicial tyranny, 1982, and now?

  1. Fritz, as I recall you ran for the house instead because you would have faced a stronger republican in the primary.

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