Alaska Supreme Court wants more information before making Recall Dunleavy ruling

Published: Apr. 2, 2020 at 11:38 AM AKDT
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The Alaska Supreme Court wants more information before deciding whether an election to recall the governor should take place.

The Supreme Court justices heard

in the case on March 25 and a decision was expected a short while later. On April 2, the court asked for more information from the State of Alaska and Recall Dunleavy attorneys on one of the provisions in the recall petition, relating to whether the governor violated the separation of powers doctrine by vetoing funds

over abortion decisions.

The court is asking for supplemental briefs on:

  • The historical basis of state constitutional provisions, and particularly the Alaska Constitution, Article II, section 15, regarding a governor’s discretionary authority to veto items in appropriation bills and the related requirement that the governor provide a statement of objections to the vetoed items;
  • The constitutional limits, if any, that exist on a governor’s exercise of the authority to veto items in appropriation bills; and,
  • In light of the foregoing, the legal framework this court should use for determining whether the third ground for recall is “legally sufficient” as required by our case law. How should the governor’s statement of his objections inform the analysis? Can the statement of objections itself demonstrate an “improper” use of the governor’s veto authority sufficient to support recall? Is “improper” use of the governor’s veto authority a violation of the separation of powers doctrine? As used in the recall petition, is “separation of powers” a law — which the governor either violated or did not violate — or is it shorthand for something else? How should voters interpret the phrases “separation of powers” and “the rule of law”?

20 page briefs are due from both parties on April 13 and responses are due April 20.

The allegation that the governor breached the separation of powers doctrine by vetoing court system funding over abortion decisions is likely the thorniest issue for the justices to decide.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska filed a separate lawsuit against the Dunleavy administration on that

which is currently before an Anchorage Superior Court judge.

“In our minds, the governor plainly made clear that his actions were punitive,” Claire Pywell, the Recall Dunlevy campaign manager said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the effort to recall the governor from office. On March 20, the campaign announced it was ending in-person signature gathering events and moving to mail petition booklets across Alaska.

According to Pywell, roughly 3,000 booklets have been requested across Alaska in the past week and a half.

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