I voted in person this week and noticed that the ballot given to me for my Juneau district was partially printed on the back. I am sure that other districts will have two pages to go through, too. I almost left the booth without catching the second page.
The back page was the place to vote on the retention of local judges. And what you have to say on that could make a difference this year because there’s an organized, visible attempt in the Third Judicial District – South Central Alaska – to remove from the bench one of the ten Superior Court Judges on the ballot. One of the Family groups wants to get rid of Judge Sen Tan because a few of his decisions did not agree with their view of the law.
In an email to followers and the media, President Jim Minnery called Tan the most Liberal Judge in the state. He says Tan imposed his personal views in decisions concerning abortion payments and parental notification.
Except for a few elements of those decision, they stood up in the Supreme Court. So it looks like Minnery actually wanted Judge Tan to make decisions contrary to law, supporting the Family’s group views.
It’s getting thick here so let me just mention that Minnery ran a challenge to Chief Justice Dana Fabe two years ago. He failed in that statewide retention vote, but he got noticed – and forty five percent of the vote. Usually, only about a quarter of voters oppose all judges.
In other words, this one is likely to be close and there isn’t any public discussion going on about it. Whatever side you are on, remember to look for all the places to vote. And – please — do your own research on the issues.